Crime/Mystery

Great Crime Fiction just for you.

Publication Date: Available Now from Thomas and Mercer

Source: Netgalley

“If you ever say anything to anyone, they all die.”

When eight-year-old Greer Donner falls off his horse in the Washington wilderness, he braces himself to face the long hike home alone. But screams pierce the darkness, and he stumbles upon a dead-end road where a man is beating a woman—nearly to death. In a moment of courage, he stops the assault, but he’s left to face the man, who turns his wrath into an ominous threat: if the boy ever reveals what he has seen, his family will pay the ultimate price. The secret Greer now carries begins his emotional unraveling.

In Seattle, Gillian Trett is a photographer with a troubled marriage and a childhood she’s trying to forget. Domestic tension mounts when her husband’s stepsister arrives. Desperate for a distraction, and a way to advance her career, Gillian throws herself into uncovering the history behind an old man’s Holocaust photo of boys in a forest. The mysterious children and the truth behind the scene haunt her—she can’t let go of the image, or of her own shadowed past.

Then a horrifying revelation entangles Gillian’s path with young Greer’s. The boy and the woman, separated by a generation and a hundred miles, each confront the terrible power of harbored secrets—not only to eclipse the truth but also to illuminate the dark, unknown dimensions of their loved ones and themselves.

The Measure of the Moon is a family drama/crime thriller, character driven and more on the literary side of things, I found it both tense and atmospheric also beautifully written.

It is a slow burner but in a good way, Lisa Preston manages to breathe a life into her characters that is utterly gripping – both Greer and Gillian have very different circumstances but so much links them, this yin/yang effect was highly compelling. One moment can have a lifetime of consequences, this is a theme that is explored here somewhat alongside many others, all of which weave a complex yet fascinating tale where the reward is in the coming together of it all.

The exploration of trauma, childhood trauma especially in Greer’s case is wonderfully done – Greer who cannot speak of what he saw and yet if affects his very heart, is a sympathetic and engaging character and the whole novel has an authentic almost noir feel about it. The historical aspects worked well, I am fond of a story that has many strands that interconnect ultimately to give a full picture, as we follow Greer, Gillian and the rest (I was particularly drawn to orphans Alice and Alex) you are immersed into these lives until the final pages.

Overall I was a fan of this one. I’d recommend it for fans of literary crime with family drama elements and clever plotting.

You can purchase The Measure of the Moon HERE

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Publication Date: 13th December from Mulholland

Source: Netgalley

Ted McKay had it all: a beautiful wife, two daughters, a high-paying job. But after being diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor he finds himself with a gun to his temple, ready to pull the trigger. Then the doorbell rings.

A stranger makes him a proposition: why not kill two deserving men before dying? The first target is a criminal, and the second is a man with terminal cancer who, like Ted, wants to die. After executing these kills, Ted will become someone else’s next target, like a kind of suicidal daisy chain. Ted understands the stranger’s logic: it’s easier for a victim’s family to deal with a murder than with a suicide. However, after killing his targets, Ted’s reality begins to unravel.

Yes well. Kill the Next One was certainly unexpected. But I liked it. Clever. Ok there are some things in here, especially the last bit, that may discombobulate and upset some (and I don’t really feel that bit needed to be in there) but overall I found it to be highly addictive.

A game of two halves really. Or 2 and a bit halves. Or something. Starting off with an offer, then heading into fairly surreal territory where you may clutch your head a bit then settling into a rather fascinating psychological study/thriller/something like that which will have you twisted every which way. Really enjoyed it. I like the more out there stuff and this one was out there.

Written very well to keep you immersed into the story being told, I felt for poor Ted I really did. I mean honestly all the poor guy wanted was to kill himself. Then his whole world tilted sideways. Kill the Next One is the tale of why, when, how and where. And many other things.

Difficult to say too much. Its one of those books that you can’t really describe that well because it has its own vibe and thing going on. Hence my enjoyment I think.

Recommended

You can order Kill the Next One HERE

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Publication Date: Available Now from Lawsome books

Source: Netgalley

Ten years working as a prosecutor have left Meredith Delay jaded and unsure of what she wants out of life. She’s good at her job, but it haunts her. Her boyfriend wants her to commit, but she keeps him at arm’s length. Then Meredith is assigned to a high-profile prosecution involving the violent murder of a fallen hockey star. At first, it appears to be just another case to work. But when her old friend Julian is accused of the murder, it takes on a whole new dimension.

Meredith, Julian, Jonathan, and Lily were a tight-knit group in law school. But now, Jonathan’s defending Julian, and Lily’s loyalties aren’t clear. And when Julian invokes a rare—and risky—defense, Meredith is forced to confront their past.

So here is the thing. Catherine McKenzie wrote a book called Fractured. In Fractured the main protagonist Julie is in trouble because of a book she has written. That book is The Murder Game. So this book is a book from another book.

You’ve got to love that.

And also its a great story. Take a group of law students, friends, randomly tangled in relationships, learning criminal law and eventually moving on to various careers within that. Fast forward to a few years later, the friendships now somewhat fractured (yes yes I did that) and one of the group, Meredith, is assigned to a particularly sticky case. Not only sticky because of the defence being used but because this particular murder scene is all too familiar to Meredith…

I am a fan of the past/present vibe especially when it harks back to student days then catches up with those same characters years later, still being defined by what happened back then. And Julie Apple (AKA Catherine McKenzie) uses this with hugely satisfying results. Both timelines are intriguing, both are addictive, there is a great depth to the characters and an unpredictable quality about the whole thing that just makes you rocket through the read to find out what happens.

There are plenty of little twisty delights to be had here, also some great relationship entanglements that will have you shaking your head and the mystery element is beautifully drawn to make it more about the people than the actions. I really really enjoyed it. If you like a good psychological mystery you’ll enjoy this for sure.

Now of course I want to read Fractured. It kind of has to be done. I shall track down a copy forthwith and see what happens to the author of The Murder Game. I’m hoping she survives. She needs to write more books.

Great stuff. Recommended.

You can Purchase The Murder Game HERE

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Publication Date: Available Now from Thomas and Mercer

Source: Netgalley

When her six-year-old nephew vanishes from a neighborhood carnival, Aubrey Lynd’s safe, snow-globe world fractures; it shatters when the FBI’s investigation raises questions about her own family that Aubrey can’t answer.

Aubrey picks apart the inconsistencies to expose the first of many lies: a ransom note—concealed from the FBI—with a terrifying and impossible ultimatum. Aubrey doesn’t know what to believe or whom to trust. The abduction is clearly personal—but why would someone play a high-stakes game with the life of a child? The more she presses for answers, the more Aubrey is convinced that her mother is hiding something.

Desperate to save her young nephew, Aubrey must face harsh truths and choose between loyalty to her family and doing the right thing. And she’d better hurry, because vengeance sets its own schedule, and time is running out.

On review catch up for some books I read over the Summer – and this one, Someone Must Die, was a one sitting read for me which speaks to its addictive quality.

I like a good mystery that has intriguing characters – this was the strength for Someone Must Die – the difficult choices facing main protagonist Aubrey and the family drama aspects were really compelling. I was especially fascinated by the historical roots of the story, the family background that has lead to the events unfolding now, Sharon Potts uses flashback really well here to keep you turning those pages.

A missing child is always an emotive subject and you are on the edge of the seat a bit hoping that all will turn out well. There are plenty of twists and turns and overall Someone Must Die was a well written, engaging crime novel that I would definitely recommend for fans of the genre.

I will definitely be looking out for more from this author.

You can purchase Someone Must Die HERE

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Publication Date: Avaliable Now from Avon

Source: Purchased copy

Meet PC Donal Lynch.
Irish runaway. Insomniac. Functioning alcoholic. Donal is new to working the beat in London, trying his best to forget that night. After all, there aren’t many police officers who can say they have a convicted murderer for an ex-girlfriend. So when a woman is murdered on his patch, Donal throws
himself into the case. As the first person on the scene, Donal can’t forget the horrific sight that faced him – and he knows this case can’t go unsolved. But how do you solve a case with no lead suspect and no evidence?

This is one of those impulse buy books that worked out so well – spotted on a recent virtual shopping trip (lets gloss over the fact that I was supposed to be getting something entirely non book related) it accidentally fell into the basket. Its possible some of Donal Lynch’s ghosts took over and forced me to get it. I guess we will never know.

Loved this. I mean crime fiction is always the best book fix out there when you can find the good stuff, even if occasionally a bit same old, so when an author can put a little extra fascination in the tale of your standard copper its always intriguing. In Donal’s case the question hanging over his mental state was a clever thread to a multi layered police procedural with a twist.

Great plotting with great characters is what I look for personally in a crime novel and this one had buckets of both. Plus a wry and ironic humerous tone that often had me smiling, occasionally even letting out a very unbecoming snort of a giggle. Donal is sharp and well drawn, easy to grow fond of very quickly so big tick in the “Do I give a damn about the main protagonist” box. I did. I loved him. The supporting cast (especially his journalist brother and murderous ex girlfriend) are excellent and ever interesting, I was fully engaged with all of them throughout.

The mystery element aint half bad either. The clues are there, including the ones that may not really be there, the investigative track is pacy and intelligent, there are some nice little twists and turns along the way and it has a banging ending. Consider me satisfied.

Im very glad this is the start of a series, especially as James Nally has managed to pique my interest with a cleverly placed problem for Donal which will obviously bear more scrutiny. That plus the fact that it was a terrific story well told that made me wish I had book 2 already means this could become one of my favourite series. Ask me in a few years.

A dark heart that thrills and some rocking characters. Can’t ask for more than that.

Recommended for crime fiction fans.

You can purchase “Alone with the Dead” HERE

 

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Publication Date: 18th April 2016 from Canelo

Source: Netgalley

Kate and Mannix Stokes and their children live beside Curragower Falls in Limerick, Ireland, in a house they love but can barely afford. What her family needs, Kate decides, is a vacation. So when she sees a beautiful Manhattan apartment on a house swap website, it seems like a dream come true.

Oscar and his wife, Hazel, live with their two children in a gorgeous apartment on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. They too need a vacation, and Hazel has long wanted to take her children back to her native Limerick. The house swap seems like the perfect solution. But this is anything but an ideal vacation, and the discovery of a body is just the beginning.

Twisted River is the story of two families – both hiding secrets of different kinds – who swap houses for holiday purposes, this event bringing things to a head. It starts with a body then tells the tale of what led to this moment. For me, Twisted River was an excellent character study and an intriguing and engaging tale throughout, bit of a page turner and written well with enough difference about it to make it stand out somewhat in the plethora of this type of story around at the moment.

The construction was effective – hearing from four characters, seeing their lives both before and afterwards, the author does a great job of blurring the lines so that things are unexpected and unpredictable. Siobhan Macdonald has a great eye for pace and atmosphere, exploring themes of marriage and loyalty, the things we keep hidden from each other and the cost of lies.

I really enjoyed Twisted River it has to be said, was sympathetic to some characters whilst rolling my eyes at others, you get immersed into the lives of these people and it has a dark tone to it that appealed to me. Overall definitely recommended for fans of psychological thrillers.

You can purchase Twisted River HERE

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Publication Date: Available Now from Bloomsbury

Source: Netgalley

When the artist Marianne Glass falls to her death, everyone insists it was a tragic accident. Yet Rowan Winter, once her closest friend, suspects there is more to the story. Ever since she was young, Marianne had paralyzing vertigo. She would never have gone so close to the roof’s edge.

Keep you Close – another twisty psychological thriller from the pen of Lucie Whitehouse, whose previous novel “Before We Met” I absolutely loved.  When it came to Keep You Close I had a slightly love/hate relationship with it, in that it had a totally superb opening and a banging ending but I felt it dipped a bit in the middle.

It uses a past/present construction which I always love, seeing things unfold behind the current events is always a great way to present a mystery as it allows for some beautiful layers and in that, the author has done brilliantly once again. Telling the tale of a friendship lost and leading into a tragedy where all is not as it seems, creatively speaking Lucie Whitehouse has a deft touch, a storytellers eye and a beautiful atmospheric sense. I’m a fan of how she uses language to engage and embrace the reader into the world of her characters.

The only slight thing was I felt the backstory dragged a little in the central part of the novel, over egging the pudding so to speak so I did have a few moments where I lost interest for small periods of time. Having said that, it then picks up and heads towards a terrific and unexpected ending, more of what I like from this author and overall I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Bugbears aside, Keep you Close is a classic example of a psychological thriller and if you like that sort of thing (which I most definitely do when done well) you will love this and I am really looking forward to what the author comes up with next. Character driven and often intense this was for the most part expertly executed and addictive.

You can purchase Keep You Close HERE

 

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Publication Date: 24th March from Pan Macmillan

Source: Netgalley

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Publication Date: 22nd March U.S.  ( from Berkley Publishing Group) 10th March UK (From Orion)

Source: Netgalley (Berkley)

After the screen of a run-down drive-in movie theater collapses and kills four people, the daughter of one of the victims asks private investigator Cal Weaver to look into a recent break-in at her father’s house. Cal discovers a hidden basement room where it’s clear that salacious activities have taken place—as well as evidence of missing DVDs. But his investigation soon becomes more complicated when he realizes it may not be discs the thief was actually interested in….
 
Meanwhile, Detective Barry Duckworth is still trying to solve two murders—one of which is three years old—he believes are connected, since each featured a similar distinctive wound.
 
As the lies begin to unravel, Cal is headed straight into the heart of a dark secret as his search uncovers more startling truths about Promise Falls.

Note: This is book Two in the “Promise Falls Trilogy” Book One: Broken Promise is best read first.

Broken Promise was an excellent start to this trilogy, a twisty turny delight of a tale and Far From True continues along that path, answering some questions, asking others and embedding the reader further into the secrets and lies that hide beneath Promise Falls…

This is set in the immediate aftermath of the events of Broken Promise, as such it works really well, despite the length of time since I read the previous story it kicked right back in. Cal and Barry are both great characters within a large cast, Linwood Barclay having a knack for creating flawed and fascinating people to pepper his pages – and what I have been really enjoying about this trilogy so far is the layers that he has been adding slowly but surely – giving a snapshot of the events within one community and managing to BAM hit you with unexpected twists when you are just not looking in that direction.

Still another part to go, for that reason not everything is tied up and I have to say I can’t wait until book 3 comes along. I’ve very carefully avoided spoilers of any kind – but Far From True builds on book one and keeps you on your toes – I loved it and if you are a fan of the psychological thriller you can’t really go wrong with this. Or for that matter with any of this authors previous books.

Recommended.

You can Purchase Far from True  HERE

If you are new to these start with Broken Promise HERE

 

 

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Publication Date: March 17th from Urbane Publications

Source: Review copy

The genteel façade of London’s Hampstead is shattered by a series of terrifying murders, and the ensuing police hunt is threatened by internal politics, and a burgeoning love triangle within the investigative team. Pressurised by senior officers desperate for a result a new initiative is clearly needed, but what?

I really enjoyed Death in Profile – whoever called it a love letter to the detective novel was spot on and I’m not sure that any review I write can say it better than that but hey, we’ll give it a go.

You have totally old school writing and atmosphere – think Christie and indeed Ms Sayers and you will probably get a sense of what this novel is like.  It is a bit like reading back in the golden age of crime writing to paraphrase Ruth Dugdall but with a superbly contemporary twist –  a modern day police force investigating a series of murders using a mix of current methods and, due to a superbly constructed plot, having to utilise a very old fashioned approach.

The characters are beautifully drawn, they feel like old souls in new bodies – all of them are intriguing, engaging and the author weaves some wonderfully quirky interactions into the narrative, some of the set scenes so to speak are a joy to behold.

Add to that a great mystery, that twists and turns and misdirects you the entire time, the centre of the story has an unconventional heart and soul that will totally absorb you. It is a bizarre tale in a lot of ways but GOOD bizarre, a little gem of difference within a genre of (brilliant but) similar stories and one that I would highly recommend.

You can purchase Death in Profile HERE

 

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Publication Date: Available Now from Headline

Source: Netgalley

Dr. Alex Delaware first meets beautiful and emotionally fragile actress Zelda Chase when called upon to evaluate her five-year-old son. Years later, Alex is unexpectedly reunited with Zelda when she is involuntarily committed after a bizarre psychotic episode. But tragedy strikes and shortly after her release, Zelda is discovered dead in the grounds of a palatial L.A. estate. Having experienced more than enough of the city’s dark side to recognise the scent of evil, Alex turns to his friend, LAPD Lieutenant Milo Sturgis, for help in finding the perpetrator.

Meanwhile, Alex is caught up in another quest: the search for Zelda’s missing son. And when other victims vanish from the same upscale neighborhood, worry turns to terror.

This is Alex Delaware #31 now – that is an incredible body of work especially when you look at the standard throughout – ok there has been the occasional dip but for the most part these have been engaging, intriguing and brilliant reads, Breakdown being no exception.

I’m hugely fond of these characters – Alex, Milo,  et al. And each different mystery brought to the doorstep of our dynamic duo has its own dark underbelly and different way of getting to the reader. In the case of Breakdown a child is missing, a child who is already vulnerable by virtue of having a disturbed mother – but as ever there is a lot more to it than that.

I like Jonathan Kellermans own unique writing style very much – he uses what I call pragmatic prose to draw you in and keep you turning the pages. He still manages to surprise, he still manages to add layers to characters you would think to know off by heart by now. Not everyone could pull off a series of this length and keep it at such a high calibre but somehow he does.

Overall then I’d recommend this as much as I do every other Delaware novel – that is very highly.You can pick up any of them and enjoy it in case you are gulping at the thought of 31 books and have not yet started, just pick one and dive in if you fancy giving them a go. I’m also a fan of Faye and Jesse Kellerman, hopefully I have many a happy read ahead of me from this very talented bunch.

You can order Breakdown HERE

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Publication Date: Feb 4th From Faber

Source: Netgalley

Twenty years ago she ruined his life.

Now she has the chance to save it.

Olivia Randall is one of New York City’s best criminal defense lawyers. When she hears that her former fiancé, Jack Harris, has been arrested for a triple homicide—and that one of the victims was connected to his wife’s murder three years earlier—there is no doubt in her mind as to his innocence. The only question is, who would go to such great lengths to frame him—and why?

For Olivia, representing Jack is a way to make up for past regrets and absolve herself of guilt from a tragic decision, a secret she has held for twenty years. But as the evidence against him mounts, she is forced to confront her doubts. The man she knew could not have done this. But what if she never really knew him?

Now I’m a sucker for a decent legal drama and to be honest there are not that many around at the moment that really hit the spot for me – but I should have known I could rely on Alafair Burke to give good courtroom and that is absolutely what happened here.

I was immediately on board with Olivia Randall, a strong and independant female lead, as she agrees to help an ex boyfriend navigate a triple murder charge – years ago Olivia disposed of her relationship with Jack Harris in a very brutal and definitive way, sending him into a downward spiral and making Olivia truly regret her actions. Now, 20 years later, Jack is a widower, in the wrong place at the wrong time when the wrong victim died, he is caught up in a system determined to convict him. Olivia believes that he is incapable of such action but how well does she really know him?

There was a beautiful flow to this one and a great storyline – the author drip feeds the information, we discover as Olivia does and the legal wranglings are brilliantly addictive and really keep you engaged. Is Jack a cold blooded murderer? Or can Olivia’s original instinct be trusted…these questions are explored within a gripping and twisted narrative that keeps you unsure until the very final chapters – a true “whodunnit” with a legal battle focus and a bunch of intuitively placed and intriguing characters.

Overall excellent reading. Character driven, great psychological depth and some top lawyerly face off’s I really enjoyed this and would recommend it.

Happy Reading Folks!

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Publication Date: Available now from Bonnier/Hot Key Books

Source: Netgalley

Helplessly drawn like moths to the light, two girls go missing in an evocative and gripping tale . . . They called them the Moth Girls because they were attracted to the house. They were drawn to it. Or at least that is what is written in the newspapers that Mandy reads on the anniversary of when her two best friends went missing. Five years have passed since Petra and Tina were determined to explore the dilapidated house on Princess Street. But what started off as a dare ended with the two girls vanishing. As Mandy’s memories of the disappearance of her two friends are ignited once again, disturbing details will resurface in her mind.

The Moth Girls is a tense and atmospheric character fuelled novel that is beautifully written and very compelling.

Mandy is watching a house being demolished – years earlier that house swallowed up her two best friends. They went in, they never came out.  As the memories of that time begin to surface, she realises that she may know more than she thought as seemingly obscure events take on new meaning..

There were a few reasons why I really liked The Moth Girls – firstly the plotting is solid and addictive, the story unfolds in a way that gives you a real insight into the characters and the events – also the mystery element was well imagined and didn’t necessarily follow along the standard lines. Often surprising and with an authentic feeling throughout, the ending too matched the rest, not necessarily expected yet realistic.

I liked the dynamic between the three girls as Mandy looks back over their friendship – their mixed and matched personalities – Mandy herself is a mess of contradiction at times, obviously affected deeply she just wants to know the truth and move on.

Another aspect I thought was excellent was the attitudes and actions of the parents of the missing girls – Tina’s mother is especially sympathetic, Anne Cassidy makes it easy to relate to her especially if you are a parent yourself, even seen as she is through the eyes of another.

Overall a clever, engaging and intriguing story, one that I would definitely recommend.

You can purchase The Moth Girls here and follow the author on Twitter here.

 

 

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I’ve long been a fan of the Lynley mysteries – Literary crime fiction at it’s best, with A Banquet of Consequences Ms George has hit top form once more.

I’ll be honest and say since the series game changing event that occured in “With No-one As Witness” I felt that the author lost her way a little – whilst the ensuing novels were still good it lost a little something for me – but in A Banquet of Consequences that little hiccup seems to have been shaken off and she is back to doing what she does best. Delivering a tour de force of a crime story with our favourite characters heading back into normal territory and being those we love to read about.

Havers is toeing the line – Lynley finds he doesn’t really like this after all. There are some great humerous moments to be had around that and their interactions with Dorothea (a character who I’d like to see get a good deal more page time) and at last I felt that both Lynley and Havers were regaining lost ground.

Plus the trademark construction is back at its finest – where the crime in question is explored from many angles, giving us a picture of all those caught up in it, from the before during and after. What this author does incredibly well are people. From all walks of life, those who end up on the radar of Lynley and Havers are always fascinating whatever their background. In this case we have an author, a publicist, a mother who has lost a child to suicide and those that surround them – the sheer intricacies of all the interpersonal relationships make for some great reading and it is utterly compelling throughout.

As an entirety this series is simply stunning in its complexity, gorgeous prose, character building and addictive reading quality. Despite the odd downturn, where I believe it’s possible Ms George was grieving as much as her characters were, I would still highly recommend every novel that features Inspector Lynley and co.

You can read any one as a standalone but I would recommend reading in order as far as possible – if only to see the developing friendship between Lynley and Havers  – a dynamic duo if ever there was one.

I loved it.

Happy Reading Folks!

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Publication Date: Available Now from Mulholland books

Source: Bookbridgr

Michael Hendricks is not a good man.
He doesn’t deserve a good life.
But he is very good at his job.

He’s the killing kind.

He doesn’t accept contract kills. He doesn’t work for any criminal organisation. And he never kills civilians. He only hits hitters.

Wow but this one hits the ground running and doesnt let up – an intriguing thrill ride of a novel, fast paced, brutal with that touch of insanity that makes a read a breathtaking one.

So Michael Hendricks is a skilled killer. He has his own moral code and is intensely loyal to the (very few) people he cares about. Engelmann is an equally skilled killer who has been tasked with taking Michael out by crime syndicate “The Council”. Then we have Charlie – an FBI special agent for whom Michael has become somewhat of a project.

So the scene is set for a desperate struggle to be the winner in a war of violence – and the author takes us on a shockingly savage at times yet so addictively readable road to the final solution without giving much room to stop along the way.

I liked the way that this was set from several viewpoints, I adored the pure energy of it – duelling assassins, blurring moral codes, some intricate plotting to keep things interesting and a genius pitch perfect ending.

Overall a fabulously fun read. Escapism at it’s best and a book to devour in one adrenalin fuelled sitting.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Publication Date: Available Now from Carina

Source: Netgalley

Is to love someone really to leave them behind?
When Simone first met Mack, he was that guy. Too charming for his own good, and way too sure of himself. And yet after those first few moments, she just knew it was going to work between them, and she’d never been happier. But just as they are about to get serious, Mack disappears without a trace.

I enjoyed this one – there were some good characters and an intriguing plot as Simone tries to track down her boyfriend Mack when he suddenly disappears – despite him leaving a note saying not to, of course she does…

The pacing was good but on the downside it was eminently predictable – there were not really any surprises for me as I read, which didn’t stop me enjoying it but perhaps will mean that it won’t be that memorable down the road.

Books like this are great for when you want a fun mystery story that keeps you turning the pages despite being pretty certain what you are going to find. Well written, engaging, I would call this a perfect coffee break crime story, one of those for a long train ride.

Good. Not new or improved  – I would still read more from this author.

Happy Reading Folks!

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Publication Date: Available Now from Carina UK

Source: Netgalley

DCI Michael Lambert thought he’d closed his last case…

Yet when he’s passed a file detailing a particularly gruesome murder, Michael knows that this is no ordinary killer at work.

The removal of the victim’s eyes and the Latin inscription carved into the chest is the chilling calling-card of the ‘soul jacker’: a cold-blooded murderer who struck close to Michael once before, twenty-five years ago.

One word for this – Riveting.

Loving the spate of new Crime Fiction that is around at the moment and Dead Eyed is a perfect example of what I mean – fast paced, full of twisty goodness, a well drawn and intriguing main protagonist and a well constructed and horrifically addictive storyline.

You’ve got to love a good serial killer – ok you know what I mean – plus with “Dead Eyed” Matt Brolly has managed to create the kind of highly readable, fast and furious yet insightful character driven tale that most crime fiction fans (including myself) will devour in very short order.

A really excellent debut – presumably of a series – a series I shall be looking out for in the future. There will be a slightly more expansive review plus an interview with the author coming up on the blog soon (or possibly already depending on when you are reading this)  so look out for that. In the meantime I’ll say…

Highly Recommended.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Publication Date: Available now from Little Brown

Source: Netgalley

The Farren family has been a plague upon Philadelphia’s most dangerous neighbourhood, the Devil’s Pocket, for generations. There, row after row of tumbledown houses hide dark secrets – none darker than Billy, the youngest Farren.

Afflicted by a syndrome that means he can’t recognise faces, Billy must use photographs to identify his family – and his victims. And when your life has bled away, he takes a final, gruesome picture for his wall.

But what is the meaning of the horrific ritual Billy enacts with every murder? And is there any connection to a childhood event Detective Kevin Byrne has buried so well it’s hidden even from his former partner Jessica Balzano?

I’m a fan of this series so it came as little surprise to me that I really enjoyed this one – I do love my crime fiction and Richard Montanari is particularly good in this field.

This instalment gives us some great Byrne back story, taking as it’s main part the Farren family, who Byrne has been involved with before. He faces a dilemma and some tough moral judgements and this, for me, made this one of my favourites of the series so far. Especially as it gave an added layer to his relationship with Jessica, who SHOULD know almost everything important about him. But she does not have it all…

Things shaken up anyway by the fact that they are no longer partners, the relationship between our two main protagonists is still a highly intriguing one, the ongoing portions of Shutter Man were terrific.

On top of that, I was fascinated by the concept of not being able to recognise faces. In fact I could not really get my head around it – imagine not being able to identify those closest to you by looking at them. Of course this being a Richard Montanari novel that concept is all wrapped up in blood and death…

Overall a really great read again from a series that so far has not hit a downturn. Clever descriptive writing, involving and dark mystery elements and engaging and often brutal characters mean that these come highly recommended by me.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Publication Date: Available Now from Headline

Source: Bookbridgr

Even hundreds of closed cases to his credit can’t keep LAPD police lieutenant Milo Sturgis from agonising over the crimes that don’t get solved – and the victims who go without justice. Victims like Katherine Hennepin, a young woman strangled and stabbed in her home. A single suspect with a solid alibi leads to a dead end – one even psychologist Alex Delaware’s expert insight can’t explain. The only thing to do is move on to the next murder case – because there is always a next one.

I’ve been a fan of the Alex Delaware series right from the start (well I say from the start, I read the first 6 or so all in a heap and since then have not missed a single one) and they never fail to get my reading mojo going – excellent reads every time.

Milo of course. Can’t have Alex without Milo – the best “buddy” pairing around in crime fiction as far as I am concerned and both are on top form in “Motive” as Milo is landed with a randomly strange case involving dead bodies and a lot of food stuff. As Alex is his go to guy for the weird and horrific, they start to try and make some sense of it all. But as ever these things are never easy and before we know it BAM things are getting darker..

I’m a big fan of the prose that Kellerman uses to involve the reader in the plot, it just kind of gently flows over you but before you know it you are engrossed and utterly addicted. The characters have grown so beautifully over time, with all the ups and downs, you know them so well – and yet every time you have something new and even after all this time those we know best can act in an unpredictable manner – it keeps things fresh and never fails to keep you intrigued.

Motive was basically another great story, involving some terrifically drawn characters with all the disturbing twisty turns you can hope for within a series that could potentially run a good few years yet. Here’s hoping.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Publication Date: 13th August from Sphere

Source: Netgalley

My name is Simon. I’m 10 years old. I’m a serial killer.
Robert Stern, a successful defence lawyer, doesn’t know what lies in store for him when he agrees to meet a new client in a derelict estate on the outskirts of Berlin. To his astonishment, the defendant is a ten-year-old boy – Simon – a fragile child with a chronic illness who insists that he was a murderer in a former life.

Blimey this is a bit of a rollercoaster read, a book that grips you from the first lines and just simply won’t let go. A dastardly, twisty turny tale that will leave your head spinning.

Robert Stern is a defence attorney, highly successful but with a huge loss in his past that drives him to work excessively and not think too much about anything else. When an ex girlriend asks him to help a dying child who believes he was a killer in another life, Robert is sceptical. But when the bodies start piling up and Simon seems to have a strange prediliction for knowing what’s going to happen, he finds himself involved in a race against time and discovers he has more to lose than he thought…

This was a strange, unpredictable and insanely mad reading experience, this author knows how to mess with your head and keep you on your toes whilst playing with your emotions and making you question everything. It flows along with no breathing space, locking you into the characters lives and experiences and sending you off into wild flights of fancy about what might actually be going on.

The “bad guy” is to die for, a James Bond type super villain working behind the scenes to cause maximum mayhem, but who and why is the thing that will keep you up into the early hours. Add to that a really emotive subject matter handled very well and realistically despite all the unrealistic situations Robert finds himself in and you have a heady mix of emotional resonance and pure thrill ride.

Is reincarnation a thing? Or is there a simple explanation for Simon’s knowledge? Well you’ll have to read to find out and while you are you’ll fall in love with him, with Robert and with all the other gorgeously drawn characters that you’ll meet along the way. You will root for a happy resolution, get swept away by the pure imaginative drive of the narrative and ultimately collapse in a heap feeling like you’ve been running a marathon.

Twisty turny eminently readable goodness. That is what this one will give you. Plus a possible toothache from grinding them throughout.

Highly Recommended.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Publication Date: Available Now from Simon and Schuster

Source: Purchased copy paperback

Morgan Prager, at age thirty, is completing her thesis on victim psychology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan. She is newly engaged to Bennett, a seductive but possessive and secretive man. She returns from class one day to find Bennett mauled to death, and her dogs, a Great Pyrenees and two pit bulls she has rescued covered in blood.

The Hand That Feeds You is a psychological thriller that has an awful lot going for it. The addictive quality is spot on, I read this in one sitting, readability factor high.

When Morgan comes home to discover that her fiancee is dead, her dog’s are the culprits, she has a breakdown. Upon recovery she discovers that he was not who he claimed to be, in fact nobody seems to know who he is. Further investigation shows that she is not the only one he has been taken in by him and death seems to follow him around…

Overall though I had a few issues here. The resolution is so predictable, unbelievably so, although right up until the last moments I did wonder if the authors were doing a terrific job of misdirection. No though. My guess is that YOUR first guess at the ultimate “bad guy” will be the right one. Now I don’t necessarily mind that, when you read as many of these types of books as I do surprises are few and far between. Still that was a slight disappointment given the quality of the writing and the depth of storytelling that had gone before.

Also at points for me the plot got over convoluted and nonsensical, especially in relation to the actions of certain characters. Of course a reader needs a modicum of suspension of disbelief when reading this type of novel, if everyone behaved sensibly you wouldn’t have much of a story – still I did often find myself saying out loud “But WHY would you do that?”

On the plus side I did like Morgan as a character although she was actually entirely unlikeable. She is set up as intelligent and proactive yet has a decent amount of vulnerability. She’s a bit of a victim (in fact that was one of my things – really, how many times can you get into that type of trouble in one lifetime?) who’s dry yet engaging character voice kept me turning those pages. I also enjoyed the “dog” elements of the tale, liked how the authors created little pockets of interaction between the players that gave flashes of insight into their motivations and the mystery element is well imagined if a little bit of an ultimate letdown.

Overall I would definitely recommend this for fans of psychological thrillers mainly because, despite some flaws, this is one of those books that you won’t be able to put down once you’ve turned the first pages.

Happy Reading Folks!

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Darren Evans was only eleven when his beloved sister Carly and four other teenage girls disappeared, sparking a huge police investigation.
Eventually, a woman confessed to their murders. But although she admitted her guilt, Olivia Duvall refused to say what had happened to those five missing girls. Or where their bodies might lie.

The Silent Ones was something of a mixed read for me – the feel of the novel and the initial plot development was brilliantly addictive, but then went off in a direction that I wasn’t sure quite fitted with the set up.

The most interesting portion of The Silent Ones comes in the form of Olivia – the “bad guy” – in a secure unit for murder,hiding secrets and there was a great depth to her and a pull that kept me reading. When Darren, one of the relatives of a possible murder victim takes a job at the jail in order to confront her, this was potentially going to be an extremely compelling read.

Ultimately it both was and was not – the twist was kind of uninspiring but the book was still very intense in places, when the author was exploring the more psychological aspects it was very well done.

Ali Knight writes with an involving and very readable style – There was a lot about The Silent Ones that I truly thought was fabulous, I would definitely recommend it for fans of thrillers. For me though it didn’t quite hit the mark on a purely emotional level, but that said an interesting and intriguing premise with some great writing throughout.

Happy Reading Folks!

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Publication Date: 21st July from Bantam Dell (to be published in the UK by William Heinemann)

Source: Netgalley

For every case Temperence Brennance has solved, there remain innumerable unidentified bodies in her lab. Information on some of these is available online, where amateur sleuths sometimes take a stab at solving cases. One day, Tempe gets a call from Hazel “Lucky” Strike, a web sleuth who believes she’s successfully connected a body in Tempe’s lab to a missing persons report on an eighteen-year-old named Cora Teague. Since the bones in her lab do seem to match Cora’s medical records, Tempe looks into the case, returning to the spot where the bones were originally found.

Unbelievably it is outing number 18 for Kathy Reichs and Temperance Brennan – a series I have followed right from the start – reading a “Bones” novel for me is the equivalent of sinking into a warm bath at the end of a stressful day, glass of wine to hand. Whilst I have loved some more than others, the author never disappoints me, they are always darn good reads, excellent construction, great mystery elements and intriguing development for our favourite main characters.

In “Speaking in Bones” Tempe is drawn into a missing persons case by an enigmatic and rather forceful figure – becoming interested despite herself Tempe gets embroiled in strange family dynamics, religious fervour and some weird and obscure goings on. As ever she is like a dog with a bone (yes yes I know) and will not give in until the truth comes out. One thing I’ve always loved about this main protagonist is her tendency to run headlong into danger whilst berating herself for doing so. She’s a bit like me, suffers from chronic impatience.

Anyway, as ever this is scintillating stuff when it comes to the forensics – unsurprisingly given the vast range of knowledge and experience in the hands of the author – and it has a beautiful flow to it which is sometimes annoying (in a good way) as Kathy Reichs has a habit of finishing her snappy chapters with a sentence that means you simply have to read the next.

I want to give a nod to one of the recurring characters – Slidell – who I disliked intensely when I met him some books ago and who I now worship with the passion of a true reader. He is so beautifully ironic and a perfect foil for Tempe, their interactions make up some of the best parts of the novels these days. The dark humour the author adds to proceedings lives and breathes in this relationship and due to some developments in this instalment I believe we will see a lot more of him. Yay!

Of course the ongoing drama between Tempe and Ryan continues…I’m fond of their partnership, on and off, up and down but very authentic given their circumstances and personalities.

Overall then an excellent addition to an already excellent series. I am a loyal fan because I have been given no reason not to be – I loved this one and am already anticipating the next. A beautiful set up here for some great stories to come.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Publication Date: Available Now from The Friday Project

Source: Netgalley

Things are looking up for Janusz Kiszka, big-hearted ‘fixer’ to London’s Poles. His girlfriend/the love of his life, Kasia, is finally leaving her no-good husband to make a new life with him, and he’s on the brink of a deal to ensure their financial security for years to come. Then Kasia vanishes – and the big Pole’s world is torn apart.

I LOVE these. We are on book 3 now and my love just grows stronger…

First of all these are gritty crime drama’s with added oomph, I have a COMPLETE book crush on Janusz, and possibly even a bigger one on Natalie who just has a kind of manic sense about her that draws me in.

In this instalment, Kasia goes missing, devastating Kiszka and bringing him back once again to Natalie as he seeks her help. The ongoing developing relationship between these two is one of the highlights of this series for me, Anya Lipska brings a subtlety and gorgeous undertone to their interactions which makes for compelling reading.

The Polish culture is brought to vivid life in the stories, with particular and authentic emphasis on the merging of that with the British way, there are some really insightful and fascinating relationships that show this beautifully, both the good and the bad.

There are plenty of twists and turns to be had as ever, the mystery elements perfectly woven into the character’s lives – but Anya Lipska’s tales are very much character driven, with a depth of language and ability to delve into the human psyche that makes every tale completely gripping.

I think this is my favourite so far. But I think I’ll wait for the next (hopefully) 10 or so JUST to be sure you understand.

Highly Recommended

Happy Reading Folks!

 

Never Die Alone (New Orleans, #8)

Publication Date: 28th July 2015 from Kensington Books.

Source: Netgalley

It should be the best day of their lives. Too bad they never get to see it. On the cusp of their twenty-first birthday, he strikes. His victims are always twins, their ritualistic murders planned in exquisite detail, down to the moment when they breathe their last together. . .

I’ve dipped in and out of this series from Lisa Jackson – have enjoyed all the ones that I have read, this was a slight departure for her as it focused more on some of the surrounding characters- I loved that about it, kind of a different angle but with the same feel

It worked really well – the tale is one of a killer, thought to be in jail, who kidnaps twins on the eve of their 21st birthday and kills them at the time of their birth. When another set of twins goes missing the game is afoot. So to speak.

There were some gorgeous little twists and turns in this one, the whole subject of twins I find fascinating. Part of the plot involves a support group for surviving twins – losing a sibling is never easy, with twins if there is any truth to the duality theory must be incredibly difficult. The subject is explored in a really interesting way here as the different participants have different stories.

Then there is the mystery element which is well imagined, often tense edge of the seat stuff, the opening portion sets the scene really well, in a heart stopping way and from there on in it is totally addictive reading.

Overall then another really good novel from the pen of Lisa Jackson that has ensured I will continue to read these wherever possible. And I really should go back and fill in the gaps.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Publication Date: Available Now from Carina UK

Source: Netgalley

The trip of a lifetime could be murder…
When Dante’s best friend Asmir offers to pay for them both to take a bus trip around New Zealand, he leaps at the opportunity. He needs to get away from it all for a while; the recent loss of his uncle, the end of his relationship, even his uni course.
But as they set off on their scenic adventure, Dante and Asmir quickly realise that their trip might not be quite as relaxing as they had first thought. The bus is full, the trip long and the mix of different personalities could be deadly. When events take a sinister turn, Dante and Asmir begin to wonder if they’ll make it back home…alive.

Really enjoyed this tense, claustrophobic and very readable tale from Joel Arcanjo – I can’t imagine actually, anything worse than being stuck on a bus with a lot of strangers even if they were all lovely people – in the case of the “Number 8” bus of the title, where things are just a little strange, it would be my worst nightmare…

It’s a cleverly constructed novel of the type that I really devour – the set up is perfect and as we start to head into the main plot it becomes very addictive. I’m certainly not going to give anything away, but it is very atmospheric with a terrific flow to it throughout.

Our characters are well drawn and emotionally connectable – I was especially fond of Dante who is simply trying to get his life back on track and ends up in an untenable situation.

Overall then a great read – it was fast for me because I did not want to put it down until I found out the resolution. Recommended.

 

 

 

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Publication Date: Available now from Thomas and Mercer

Source: Author review copy.

Twenty-five years have passed since a savage killer terrorized California, massacring three ordinary families before disappearing without a trace.   
The haunted child who was the only surviving victim of his rampage is now wanted by the FBI for brutal crimes of her own, and Special Agent Matthew Roarke is on an interstate manhunt for her, despite his conflicted sympathies for her history and motives.
But when his search for her unearths evidence of new family slayings, the dangerous woman Roarke seeks – and wants – may be his only hope of preventing another bloodbath.

It is highly recommended that you read Book 1 of the series, Huntress Moon, first.

I’m making this fairly brief mainly because I have book 3 lined up on my Kindle ready to go. I’m addicted!

This series has, so far, been totally brilliant. Huntress Moon, pitch perfect part one, set us up for Blood Moon which is simply superb – a rollicking roller coaster ride of a novel with some hugely compelling characters and a story arc that will leave you breathless.

Redefining the serial killer thriller is no easy task believe me, I’ve seen it all over the years, but with the Huntress/FBI Thrillers Alexandra Sokoloff has done just that – creating in Cara Lindstrom a killer like no other – she is intensely fascinating, completely believable and absolutely sympathetic.

Her “relationship” with Roarke, our man at the FBI is gorgeously complex, beautifully captivating and a huge strength of the series – it draws you in, makes you pause for thought and is so riveting that you will barely glance up from the page.

Add to that a fast paced and highly intriguing mystery element in the cases surrounding these two and you really do have a unique addition to the crime genre, one that I would highly recommend.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

 

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Publication Date: Available Now from Bookouture

Source: Netgalley

You don’t know him. But he knows you.
Soon he would be able to touch her, to feel the warmth of her blood. And when the time came, nothing would stop him.
As D.C. Jennifer Knight investigates a routine stabbing in the quiet town of Haven, she is shocked at what seems like a personal message from beyond the grave.
When more bodies are found, Jennifer is convinced the killings are somehow linked. What she discovers is more chilling than she could possibly imagine. The murders mirror those of the notorious Grim Reaper – from over twenty years ago. A killer her mother helped convict.

Read this one in a day – it is highly addictive and written in such a way as to really get you turning the pages, a great crime fiction novel with a beautiful little Supernatural twist.

Terrific main protagonist as well in DC Jennifer Knight – she is really well drawn, enigmatic in her own way, obsessive compulsive with a touch of humour about her that really brings the character to life.

Wonderfully atmospheric throughout, this is a really terrific first novel, one that definitely makes you want to read the next in the series. A pitch perfect ending just puts the cherry on the top of the cake!

Highly Recommended.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Publication Date: Available Now from W&N/Orion

Source: Publisher Review Copy

On the night of 22 December 1980, a plane crashes on the Franco-Swiss border and is engulfed in flames. 168 out of 169 passengers are killed instantly. The miraculous sole survivor is a three-month-old baby girl. Two families, one rich, the other poor, step forward to claim her, sparking an investigation that will last for almost two decades. Is she Lyse-Rose or Emilie?

After the Crash is a really superb mystery thriller – one that hooks you in immediately and leaves you hanging on every world while you wait to find out the outcome.

So the premise is very clever – a baby is the sole survivor of a plane crash. Two families claim she is theirs – in the days before DNA and with such a young child, how on earth do you work out who she is? Especially when there are no real clues. The court eventually decides but then begins years of investigation by the losing relatives determined to get at the truth.

The backstory is mostly told through the journal of the detective who has been on the case from the start. Hired by the rich family, he spends years of his time trying to get to the truth – in the end he leaves his journal to the child concerned. We also follow along with her “brother” and various other people as the tale unfolds..

It is beautifully imagined, the mystery of who the baby (now a grown woman) actually is – some absolutely fabulous characters that evoke real emotion within the reader – and some lovely little twists and turns on the way to the truth finally revealed.  A real page turner, one that has you changing your mind at every step, feeling a kinship with this girl who does not know her name and keeps you hanging on to every word as more and more facts come to light.

It is a character driven tale with a terrific mystery element, some real thrills along the way, gorgeously translated and ultimately a really really terrific read. So who is the survivor? Lyse-Rose? Emilie? The journey to discovery is an enigmatic and highly intriguing one.

Highly Recommended!

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Publication Date: 23rd April 2015 (UK from Little Brown) 2nd June 2015 (U.S. from Grove Atlantic)

Source: Netgalley via Grove.

Tom Thorne is on holiday with his girlfriend DS Helen Weeks, when two girls are abducted in Helen’s home town. When a body is discovered and a man is arrested, Helen recognizes the suspect’s wife as an old school-friend and returns home for the first time in twenty-five years to lend her support.

Oh what sheer joy it is to pick up another Thorne novel from Mark Billingham – you just KNOW you will not be disappointed, this really is a most marvellous series.

In the last novel Thorne and cohorts had a horrible time – here we find him away with Helen for a holiday. When two girls go missing in Helen’s home town and the suspect is her friend’s husband she insists on going to support the family – Thorne of course cannot resist getting involved in the investigation despite being very unwelcome.

Always heart stoppingly addictive, I read this fast – when it comes to Crime Fiction Mr Billingham really is at the top of his game, each novel bringing something a little different and for such a long running series it maintains a fresh new feel each time. Not that easy to pull off but seemingly effortless in this case.

This was definitely one of my favourites so far (mind you I’m sure I said that last time which just goes to show) – exploring some dark themes, flowing along at a heck of a pace, twisting and turning to another trademark thrilling conclusion.

As ever a pleasure to spend time in Thorne’s company – the whole series definitely comes highly recommended from me.

Happy Reading Folks!

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Publication Date: April 9th from McNidder & Grace  

Source: Publisher Review Copy

Set in Glasgow, The Father is the critically acclaimed debut novel of Tom O. Keenan featuring forensic profiler Sean Rooney.

So The Father turned into a pretty good crime story but for me I struggled with the first part, the use of language and the flow took a bit of getting used to. This was down to the main protagonist Sean Rooney having mental issues – he maintains an inner dialogue that I found hard to follow until I was used to it.

Once we had passed that point though, it was excellent – dark, disturbing and very compelling, with a hard literary edge that served the tale and the characters within extremely well.

Sean was a deeply emotional and well drawn person to take this journey with – one thing that impressed me a lot was how the author tackled his issues and allowed them to be front and centre giving an authentic and honest look at how his particular medical problem manifests. Not feeling the need to play down that side of Sean meant that the whole thing had an added realistic flavour and made the whole tale utterly fascinating.

The mystery element is intelligently done, violent yes, but also highly engaging, the first little issue I had with it aside, it was a real page turner.

Overall then a great addition to the genre – a thriller with heart and ultimately an extremely satisfying read.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Really clever psychological thriller from Sabine Durrant- following one womans journey through both grief and release as she discovers there was more to her husband than meets the eye.

This was another gorgeously twisty turny tale as Lizzie comes up on the year anniversary of her husbands death in a car accident. Lizzie knows him all too well however and she cannot shake the feeling that somehow, somewhere he is still watching. Her friends, family and the police put it down to grief, Lizzie is not so sure.

Meanwhile we hear from Zach in the form of a diary he kept. An obviously dark and twisted individual, I very much enjoyed seeing things from his point of view as Lizzie remembers those same incidents – both of them making very different observations.

Cleverly done to keep you off kilter – is Lizzie simply imagining things or could Zach possibly still be alive – Added to that some great external characters muddying the waters and some genuinely creepy moments and you have a masterful and engaging tale which will keep you turning those pages.

Definitely recommended for fans of this genre and a good one to try if you are only just dipping your toes into the world of psychological thrillers.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Publication Date: Available Now

Source: Author Review Copy.

There are rules that every player of every game must abide by, no matter how dangerous the sport.
Toronto has become the backdrop to a macabre set of artistic installations: women kidnapped, tortured and horrifically displayed by a killer with a vision.
Only someone capable of understanding the killer’s creative desire will be able to stop the murders and D I Eleanor Raven is uniquely qualified. Driven by a complex personality she pursues only the facts, only the things she can see, but never casts a judgement.
But she also has a dark and dangerous secret – one that will threaten her very survival.

This is one of those books that I suddenly noticed everyone raving about on Twitter so I was very happy when the author sent me a copy for review purposes – and blimey it packed a HELL of a punch with one of the best openings I’ve seen in a crime novel for a while which was then followed by a highly compelling story with some terrifically drawn characters.

Eleanor Raven is a beautifully drawn character, dark and delicious, highly intelligent and one who doesnt suffer fools gladly OR apologise for who she is. This makes for a great read especially when she is faced with a dangerous killer, one she is uniquely placed to capture. Still, he leads her on a merry dance and it is fascinating and addictive storytelling with a seductive and sensual edge.

The mystery element is well imagined and will keep you guessing – the dark underbelly of Toronto comes to vivid life as Eleanor and cohorts follow the trail that leads to danger and desire – a really terrific tale that will keep you up long into the night.

Overall a really most excellent read – definitely comes highly recommended from me and I’m looking forward to reading the next Raven novel which is lined up on my Kindle as we speak.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Publication Date: Available now (kindle) 22nd Sept (Paperback) from Faber and Faber

Source: Publisher Review copy.

On a searing August day, Melisandre Harris Dawes committed the unthinkable: she left her two-month-old daughter locked in a car while she sat nearby on the shores of the Patapsco River. Melisandre was found not guilty by reason of criminal insanity, although there was much skepticism about her mental state. Freed, she left the country, her husband and her two surviving children, determined to start over.
But now Melisandre has returned Baltimore to meet with her estranged teenage daughters and wants to film the reunion for a documentary. The problem is, she relinquished custody and her ex, now remarried, isn’t sure he approves.

I’m a fan of Laura Lippman’s crime novels and I was very pleased to see the return of Tess Monaghan in this story – one of my favourite literary heroines, I know I’m in for a good read when she’s involved and I was right.

In this story, she is reluctantly drawn into the case of Melisandre Harris Dawes, a woman who allowed her daughter to suffocate in a hot car one day whilst she sat by and did nothing. Found to be criminally insane, she has been living away from her other two daughters. Now back, she is involved in a documentary film, but someone is watching and waiting and Tess finds herself stuck in the middle.

The quality of writing is always of a high and addictive standard in Ms Lippman’s books – no change here then as you inexorably get dragged into the world of Melisandre – a woman who may not have been responsible for her actions then but due to her personality she’ll have you wondering. Some emotional and heart wrenching issues here, all enveloped in an intriguing mystery and giving a lot of food for thought. Personally I detested Melisandre and all that she stood for, but even so I could not make up my mind whether the death of her youngest daughter was deliberate. Some clever writing and a great psychological depth to the character will keep you going back and forth on that one…

Then we have Tess – I especially enjoyed learning more about her  personal life, a mother herself she has worries about her own ability to parent – this makes for some interesting insights and interactions as she struggles with Melisandre, to do her job without prejudice and to cope with all the daily stress that motherhood can bring. Beautifully drawn, she is engaging and a great anchor to the rest of the tale.

Possibly the best part of this for me though was the family left behind and the way in which their story is told- Melisandre’s surviving daughters have, of course, been affected by it all. Their Father has re-married and his new wife was probably the character I sympathised with most. A baby of her own now, she longs to be there for her stepdaughters but they dismiss her attempts to love them. The sisters have an intelligently written,  often confrontational relationship that will absolutely enthrall.

Overall then a terrific character driven mystery story that will keep you turning those pages until the final revelations – the subject matter is horrific but handled with grace and authenticity whilst still being a fantastic crime fiction novel.

Highly Recommended.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Publication Date: 12th March 2015 from Pan Macmillan.

Source: Netgalley

Jane Bennett, senior Detective Sergeant for the murder squad at her London police precinct, is having a terrible day. Her boss, Detective Inspector Mike Lockyer, has just returned to work after two weeks on “leave,” though Jane knows it was really more like a suspension. He’s still shaken by the loss of a victim in their last murder case. But neither of them has the luxury of time to dwell on past grievances. Jane has just received a phone call from a good friend saying that her husband Mark Leech, a retired policeman, has disappeared. When Jane finds dramatic blood splatters in the laundry room, she knows Mark is seriously injured at best, and they don’t have any time to waste.

I was a big fan of the first in the “Lockyer” series, Never Look Back, mainly because it really did creep me out to the extent that I was CONVINCED I had a stalker all of my own and spent days looking over my shoulder. Anyway I figured “No Place to Die” would not do that, but heck it WAS super creepy in places –  also an excellent police procedural come psychological thriller. Andof course twisty turny goodness which I always love.

So Jane is seriously worried about Mike Lockyer, for good reason it seems. But she has far more on her plate than just an emotionally absent boss – whilst hunting for a missing colleague, a body is discovered which sets off an ominous chain of events..

I love the characters, perfect for crime fiction, especially a series – enigmatic enough to keep you wanting more but realistic enough that you believe every word. The mystery element is very addictive, I was desperate to know what had happened to Mark whilst wondering if Mike would ever recover his sang froid. What with Jane chasing a killer and Mike haunting the corridors, this was an amazingly atmospheric read that gripped throughout.

It did haunt my dreams a little – mostly because of the vividly realistic descriptive prose when it came to some of the victim experience – I won’t say more, would not want to spoil it. But once again Clare Donoghue has taken as a central theme for her mystery something that people fear in the dark, the stuff of nightmares and turned it into a horrifying “reality” for her characters. It is a talent for sure to be able to create that kind of shiver in a reader.

Overall then a really really good tale and one I would highly recommend to fans of Crime fiction and Thrillers.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Publication Date: Available Now from Severn House.

Source: Netgalley

A dying man, if he is any kind of man, will live beyond the law. The elderly German, Karl Uxkull, was senile or desperate for attention. Why else would he concoct a tale of Nazi atrocity on the remote island of Delphi, off the coast of Donegal? And why now, 60 years after the event, just when Irish-American billionaire Shay Govern has tendered for a prospecting licence for gold in Lough Swilly?

A cleverly done and absorbing thriller come crime mystery here, highly engaging with some great characters and a fascinating premise.

I do like a book with an historical flavour, especially one that has elements of lost treasure and one that has a purely addictive quality that keeps you on your toes. There are some political shenanigans, often convoluted but believable plot developments and an intriguing backdrop and sense of time. Tom Noone is a compelling character who gets mixed up in a dangerous game and the whole thing is beautifully done.

The scene setting is terrific, you get a real feel for the area, the characters have great depth and are highly appealing, the story twists and turns its way to a super conclusion, so really really a great reading experience.

Overall it is an eclectic and often unexpected tale, intricately constructed and with a very authentic feel to it that just adds to the ambience and makes it difficult to put down. I very much enjoyed it and can certainly recommend it unequivocably for fans of the genre.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

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Publication Date: Available Now from Quercus

Source: Publisher Review Copy

DI Mark Tartaglia spends a night in a west London hotel with a woman he has just met. When he is called out to the same hotel the next morning to investigate a murder, he realises it must have taken place while he was there. If things weren’t already complicated enough, the investigation takes a new and horrifying turn when he recognises the young female victim. Still reeling from the shock, he learns that another case he has been investigating – the body of a homeless man found in a burnt-out car – is also not what it seems. Tests reveal that the corpse has been assembled from the body parts of four different people. Under mounting pressure from the media and unsure where his loyalties lie, Tartaglia must solve this new macabre puzzle before the Jigsaw Killer strikes again.

So this is the 4th book in the Tartaglia series I believe, but it is the first one I’ve read. Which now I’ve read it surprises me because this is top notch crime fiction and usually I have a nose for that sort of thing, but anyway here we are and I really really enjoyed this one.

Here we have Mark Tartaglia working on a case that has come a bit close to home, involving someone he cares about. Meanwhile there is a macabre killer at work and Mark will have to keep his wits about him in order to prevent further deaths.

This had everything I look for in my crime fiction – some great characters, a well constructed and intriguing mystery and a beautiful flow to it, easily read as a standalone, I did not feel I was missing out by having come to it here. There are some great little twists and turns in there to keep you on your toes and the mystery element is well developed and perfectly paced.

Overall a terrific read – I have added this series to my must have list and very much look forward to what comes next.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Publication Date: Hardcover/E-book available Now. Paperback June 2015 from Piatkus

Source: Publisher review copy

When a middle-aged man is found dead in a hotel room, it seems like a routine matter—until it becomes clear to DI Wesley Peterson that it is a case of cold blooded murder and that the identity the victim has been using isn’t his own. Then DCI Gerry Heffeman, frustrated at being given only cold cases during his recovery from being shot in the line of duty, discovers from a DNA review that Wesley’s mystery man was responsible for the murder of a child back in 1979. But soon, as Wesley delves in to the events of the past more people die. Meanwhile archeologist Neil Watson is investigating a ruined village that tumbled into the sea during a storm at the time of World War I. Events take a cryptic turn when he encounters a 100-year-old mystery with echoes in the present. As a terrifying truth is revealed, Wesley has to face a great danger, especially if he is to save someone very precious to him

So in a “blink and you miss it” kind of way, this is the 19th in the Wesley Peterson series – which makes me feel old and wonder what happened – I still remember quite clearly reading “The Merchant’s House” all those years ago and have been a quiet yet loyal fan of the series ever since.

Now of course I review as well as read so it was pure joy to receive this one in the post, as usual it was brilliant , an evocative mixture of crime and history, a lot of intrigue and a very fascinating premise. If you have not read these before you could actually pick any one up and read it as a standalone without losing out, this one being no exception, so do not be put off by the backlog!

In this instalment there are several strands – a body is found in a hotel room, a documentary is being made at a local dig, and an old Ice House is about to reveal a horrific secret. Told in present day and the past, Wesley will have his work cut out for him if he is to get to the bottom of a long ago mystery at the same time as solving a very modern murder.

These are so beautifully readable, always addictive (I read half in one sitting and half in another practically without blinking) as Kate Ellis weaves many different strands of plot into a fascinating web of intrigue, emotion and edge of the seat moments. In “The Death Season” things strike a little too close to home for Wesley and whether you know the character well or not, you will be hanging on to find out how it all pans out. Then we have Neil Watson doing his thing and ending up with more than he bargained for and as usual the characters pop and the whole thing is utterly compelling.

The mystery element is always intelligent, with its historical flavouring and clever immersion into the present day tale, a kind of Time Team/Morse mash up is how I would describe it (I do love aa good mash up!) the places and the people coming to life, in vivid technicolour. Really really excellent.

Overall a series I would highly recommend you get your teeth into if you havent already – and if you HAVE this will please you just as much if not more than all the rest. Highly Recommended.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

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Publication Date : Available Now from Headline.

Source: Netgalley

My name is Nicky Frank. Except, most likely, it isn’t.

Nicole Frank shouldn’t have been able to survive the car accident, much less crawl up the steep ravine. Not in the dark, not in the rain, not with her injuries. But one thought allows her to defy the odds and flag down help: Vero.

I’m looking for a little girl. I have to save her. Except, most likely, she doesn’t exist.

Like many people I’m a huge fan of Lisa Gardner’s various crime mysteries and thrillers and adore the seamless way that each “separate” series she writes blends into each other – in this particular novel it is Wyatt Foster taking front and centre  as he investigates a mysterious car crash, a missing child who may or may not exist and finds himself caught up in a strange case with its roots firmly in the past.

All of the books are real page turners but this one was a definite addiction – as we follow Wyatt’s investigation we also hear from the car crash victim – Nicky Frank – who struggles with memory after suffering a rather unlikely number of concussions and is therefore not that much help either to herself or to the police. Her disjointed thoughts, feelings and memories are what made this novel for me, I was fascinated and very emotionally involved with Nicky as she struggled to make sense of what was going on around her.

The mystery element is complex and beautifully done with little strands heading out in various directions, eventually leading to some dark deeds and extremely wicked people. Nicky wants the truth but may not be prepared or able to take it, Wyatt is determined as always and will push to get to the heart of things. All in all this is a terrifically readable, often surprising and always engaging mystery thriller, with some cameo appearances from our favourites and an additonal insight into what makes Wyatt tick. Brilliant.

It was Lisa Gardner though so I was not really expecting any different. Highly Recommended.

Happy Reading Folks!

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Publication Date: Available Now from Quercus

Source: Publisher Review Copy.

BESTSELLING NOVELIST JOHN HOUSTON’S WIFE FOUND MURDERED AT THEIR LUXURY APARTMENT IN MONACO.

Houston is the richest writer in the world, a book factory publishing many bestsellers a year – so many that he can’t possibly write them himself. He has a team that feeds off his talent; ghost writers, agents, publishers. So when he decides to take a year out to write something of quality, a novel that will win prizes and critical acclaim, a lot of people stand to lose their livelihoods.
Now Houston, the prime suspect in his wife’s murder, has disappeared. He owns a boat and has a pilot’s licence – he could be anywhere and there are many who’d like to find him.
First there’s the police. If he’s innocent, why did he flee? Then again, maybe he was set up by one of his enemies. The scenario reads like the plot of one of Houston’s million-copy-selling thrillers…

I really enjoyed this novel although it turned into something a little different than expected. A very good read with a great premise, this is very much a character piece over and above any kind of mystery – whilst there is somewhat of a mystery element it is mostly a rather intriguing look at friendship and consequences.

John Houston has disappeared leaving behind a murdered wife. The police are attempting to track him down as their prime suspect and his friends are endlessly speculating whilst most also assume his guilt – except for one. Who sticks with the idea that John Houston is innocent, and agrees to help him.

This had a terrific “Hitchcock” feel to it throughout, I almost wonder if the author was paying homage , in all honesty for me it was like one of the Hitchcock films but on the page. It just flows along beautifully, has some great interaction and dialogue and the author gives a real depth to the characters, which makes the whole thing highly readable. Add to that a little ironic view of the publishing industry and it is fun as well as often intense.

Overall an enjoyable read, highly entertaining.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Publication Date: 15th January from Mulholland Books.

Source: Bookbridgr

250,000 people go missing in the UK every year. 91% of those reported to police are found within 48 hours. 99% of cases are solved within a year. And 1% stay gone. 11 years ago, troubled teenager Emma Thorley went missing. The police assumed she was a runaway. But now a body has been found in woods near Blyth. DI Michael Gardner knows he didn’t take Emma’s disappearance seriously enough back then, and is determined to make up for it now. But when he and DS Nicola Freeman start to reinvestigate, they discover that nothing is as simple as it seems.

An extremely clever and addictive mystery story to be found here, another great crime novel and it kept me on my toes throughout. I have been lucky lately to find a lot of new crime novels, one of my favourite genres – this is a top notch addition to my must read authors list.

Some brilliantly drawn characters lead us along – the most fascinating of which is one Lucas Yates, someone who has a past with missing teen Emma Thorley – now presumed dead – and who was not that fond of her. Then we have DI Michael Gardner, a man haunted by his past when it comes to his present colleague relationships, with the sense that he did not do the search for Emma justice at the time of her disappearance. These two very different but equally compelling characters made this book for me – I was eager to find out the outcome for both.

The mystery element is beautifully imagined and very well constructed – as the story ebbs and flows there are some great twists and turns and Rebecca Muddiman has a great turn of phrase and descriptive prose that keeps you deep into the story throughout.

Overall then highly recommended for Crime Fiction fans, an excellent addition to my list of author favourites.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Publication Date: 15th January 2015 from Mantle.

Source: Advanced Reading Copy.

Rachel Teller and her husband David appear happy, prosperous and fulfilled. The big house, the successful business . . . They have everything.
However, control, not love, fuels their relationship and David has no idea his wife indulges in drunken indiscretions. When Rachel kills a man in a hit and run, the meticulously maintained veneer over their life begins to crack.

An extremely clever, addictive and fun psychological thriller, I absolutely hated every single character in this book. HATED them. Loved to hate them and could not stop reading about them no matter how I tried though. Now, almost impossibly, I’m quite sad to leave them behind…

So we have Rachel then, telling the story. She’s needy, blames all her issues on other people and is generally not particularly likeable. You may forgive her somewhat when you find out about the man she is married to but we’ll see.  After a drunken night with her lover, she runs down a man and kills him. Rather than calling the police she hides the body and returns home to David who is also determined to cover it up. Cue a lot of shenanigans, some twists and some turns, but mostly a terrifically intelligent insightful character piece about a lot of people you most definitely would want to avoid like the plague in real life. They are however extremely authentic and believable. Like calls to like I guess, they all seem cut from the same cloth but with different consequences.

What I loved personally about this was that, a bit like “The Apprentice” on television, it brought out my violent side. Metaphorically speaking of course, in reality I’m fairly placid. But during the reading of this I ground my teeth, growled a lot and often paced around for a bit after putting it aside for a while. As Rachel got further and further into the mire, as she pulled other people into her vortex, despite the fact that she had been through a lot in her life, I found myself being mostly sympathetic towards the dogs and hoping someone would rescue them soon…

David is an extraordinarily well drawn character. Ambitious, ruthless, cold as a fish, he treats Rachel appallingly. Rebecca Whitney has explored the theme of mental as opposed to physical abuse here brilliantly – often its easier to make a character evil by getting them to hit out, but David is much more insidious than that. Still though, I found it difficult to feel sorry for Rachel at all, as I said, I hated the lot of them! Isnt it brilliant?

Overall this was a wonderful debut, it will definitely get your blood up, and is written in a way that gets you deep into the mindset of the characters both main and peripheral and will really give you something to think about.  It will stay with me a long time – I’m not sure how I feel about the ending I shall have to ponder!

Highly Recommended.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Publication Date: Available now from Headline

Source: Bookbridgr

On All Hallows’ Eve, ex-convict Peter Boutrup is visiting his best friend’s grave when her estranged mother appears. Her son, Magnus, has disappeared, and she begs Peter to look for him.
The next day a young nun is pulled out of the moat at the convent in Djursland. She has been garrotted and Peter, who works there as a carpenter, was the last person to see her alive.

This is actually the second book in the “Peter Boutrup” series and I have not read the first – but this was easily read as a standalone and I thought it was superb.

When a young Nun is found murdered, her story links to a violent and unknown history. Peter Boutrop, who has problems of his own, gets caught up in the tangled web and is reluctantly drawn into a world he wants no part of.

There is a high quality character arc to this tale and the backdrop is brilliantly described to give you a sense of the surroundings. Quite apart from Peter there is a small group of well drawn, intriguing and often enigmatic characters to follow along with, whose lives you will find yourself hopelessly caught up in. I adored Peter as a character, so tough on the outside but just as conflicted inside as anybody else – his reluctance to get involved followed by an inate need to find the truth is endlessly compelling.

There are some great examples of Danish crime fiction around at the moment and this is top notch – beautifully written, with a very engaging and engrossing mystery, peppered with some marvellous and easily loveable characters, I shall definitely be reading the first book and I hope that the next one is not far away.

Highly Recommended for crime fiction fans.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

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Publication Date: Feb 26th 2015 from Quercus.

Source: Publisher review copy.

‘The Kyrgyz winter reminds us that the past is never dead, simply waiting to ambush us around the next corner’.
When Inspector Akyl Borubaev of Bishkek Murder Squad arrives at the brutal murder scene of a young woman, all evidence hints at a sadistic serial killer on the hunt for more prey.
But when the young woman’s father turns out to be a leading government minister, the pressure is on Borubaev to solve the case not only quickly but also quietly, by any means possible. Until more bodies are found…
Still in mourning after his wife’s recent death, Borubaev descends into Bishkek’s brutal underworld, a place where no-one and nothing is as it seems, where everyone is playing for the highest stakes, and where violence is the only solution.

So firstly I should probably tell you that this book will make you shiver. Not ONLY because it is an amazingly intense and evocative crime thriller but because it has such wonderfully descriptive prose that you may actually start feeling as if you are in the middle of Winter…

I love dark novels like this one – yes it is violent but then we live in a violent society, no use ignoring it and hoping it will go away – which is precisely what Akyl Borubaev refuses to do when all around him seem determined to prevaricate and point him in all sorts of wrong directions. A young woman is dead and in a most horrific way, the politics of the region are eclectic and danger lurks around every corner – Tom Callaghan paints us a dark and disturbing picture of life on the edge and for me it was endlessly compelling and absolutely fascinating.

It has an almost “noir” feel about it, there are moments of thrilling anticipation and quieter more reflective moments, alongside an intriguing mystery and a snapshot of a different place where hardship is the norm and life is cheap. The cast of characters are all amazingly well drawn and it is an extremely addictive read – scary in places, downright emotional in others and overall I thought it was terribly terrific.

Well paced, beautifully written and a stonking good story to boot, you can’t go wrong really. Highly Recommended.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Publication Date: Available Now from Orion

Source: Review copy

A rich old man, Rupert Moncrieff, is beaten to death in the silence of his West Country waterside mansion, his head hooded and his throat cut. His extended family are still living beneath his roof, each with their own room, their own story, their own ghosts, and their own motives for murder. And in this world of darkness and dysfunction are the artefacts and memories of colonial atrocities that are returning to haunt them all.

This is my first introduction to the Jimmy Suttle series and indeed my first introduction to the author and I have to say that it will definitely not be the last book I read from him, this was terrific top notch crime fiction.

This is one of those books that grips you from the outset even if you can’t quite work out why – there are two main threads running through this tale, that of the murder investigation and that of some very personal issues for Jimmy’s family since the loss of their child – both equally compelling and extremely readable.

It didnt seem to matter that I had not read the other books in the series, although I will certainly be doing so now, the writing is brilliantly addictive and there is more than enough “pre” information given to keep you in the picture without spoiling the opportunity to go back and read them later. I loved Jimmy as a character, but my favourite part of the book was following Lizzie along as she tries to understand, come to terms with and write about the loss of their daughter.

The “mystery” element is well conceived and unravels in perfect harmony with everything else going on – there were some intriguing characters involved in the case, not least of which is the dead man himself, a seeming horror of a man who it is hard to feel any sympathy for.

Overall then a really excellent read, great writing, great plot and character development and very engaging. Highly Recommended for fans of Crime Fiction.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Publication Date : 20th November from Pan Macmillan

Source: Publisher Review Copy.

As a drug-fuelled teenage tearaway, Kaz Phelps took the rap for her little brother Joey over a bungled armed robbery and went to jail.
Six years later she’s released on licence. Clean and sober, and driven by a secret passion for her lawyer, Helen, Kaz wants to escape the violence and abuse of her Essex gangster family.

I was really interested to read this title because I’m not, it has to be said, normally a fan of the gritty gangster type thriller a la Martina Cole – but I had heard great things about this one and how addictive it was and I have to say now I’ve read it I’m in full agreement.

When Kaz gets out of prison she immediately, despite her protests, starts to get drawn back into the vortex of her blood family – the death of an undercover police officer puts yet more pressure on her from other directions and how she copes and the people surrounding her makes this endlessly fascinating.

It very much came down to the extremely well written character of Kaz that made the difference for me. Struggling to escape her past, determined to do better in the future, she walks a fine line between family and her own needs and this made it all thoroughly exciting – I also related to her quite well, she was realistic in her outlook and was flawed in a way that had been dictated by her birthright. Joey as well is a superbly written “villain” – violent, cold and yet warm towards those who are “his” you can tell early on that you would betray him at your peril and that gives the whole thing an added frisson as Kaz walks that line. And I havent even gotten to Sean…I think I’ll leave you to meet him for yourself.

The police side of things is also peppered with some terrific characters, the lines blurring often between them and the criminals – the author managing to put those shades of grey in seemlessly, so often you wonder if anyone at all is on the side of the angels. I loved Nicci, on a mission of her own, there are some really great strong female leads to be found here and all the characters have great depth and their own agendas which give a nice little set of twists to proceedings.

The story itself is really excellent, several intriguing threads making up a wonderfully layered plot. Corruption, Love, Hate and  the nature of family, asking some really insightful questions about how much we can leave behind of our past and head into a better future. Ms Wilkins has managed to write a thriller that is also very much a family drama, in a way that appealed to me much more than a lot of other authors who write similar tales – we all read differently of course – but I was hooked from the first page and that never really went away.

Very much character driven, but with enough thrills and spills to keep the most ardent crime fan happy, overall then an excellent gritty almost noir tale, and how happy was I when I saw the little teaser in the back for the sequel coming soon – It definitely can’t come soon enough for me.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

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Publication Date: 20th November 2014 (paperback) from Headline.

Source: BookBridgr

After picking up his sixteen-year-old son, Ryan, from the cinema one evening, Jake Buckman decides to let him practice driving home along a seemingly quiet street. It is a decision that will alter the lives of their family for ever, as Ryan hits a jogger, who does not survive. What follows is not a clear-cut hit and run, but a split-second decision by a father who will do anything to protect his son.

A quick read for me, this was an intriguing enough story but for some reason was not really hitting the mark for me on several levels.

The premise is an interesting one – how far would you go to protect your children? Jake takes a fast decision to try and cover up a terrible accident in order to protect his son’s future – but keeping this secret is far from easy as Ryan falls apart and the tangled web gets ever more invasive.

What I did like about this one was the moral choices, how the characters handled them, for the most part this was done really well, with perhaps slightly too much unrealistic angst, but generally speaking gives you pause for thought on what you might do in this situation. The relationship between Jake and Ryan is well drawn for the most part and you can easily get emotionally involved with them.

What I was not so fond of was Ryan’s Mum Pam. A bit too caricature for me, also I got a bit too tangled up in the twists and turns of the tale which led to what was, for me, a rather improbable ending.

Ultimately I would say this is a solid 3* read and I think fans of Jodi Picoult would like it a lot more than I did – as it was, for this reader it was an enjoyable but not mind blowing moral dilemma tale.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

22838804

Publication Date: Available Now from Quercus

Source: Publisher Review Copy

Accused of grassing up a fellow officer and driven brutally out of home and job, Grace Fisher is thankful to survive some dark times and find haven with the Major Investigation Team in Essex.
One female student is missing, last seen at a popular bar in Colchester. When a second student, also out drinking, is murdered and left grotesquely posed, the case becomes headline news.
Someone is leaking disturbing details to a tabloid crime reporter. Is it the killer? Or a detective close to the case?

Some top notch crime fiction from the pen of Isabelle Grey here,which just goes to show there is still a lot of life left in the police procedural drama stakes, all you need are some well drawn characters, a haunting yet intriguing mystery and an ability to draw the reader in and make them care about what is going on – all of which happens here with bells on.

Grace joins the Major Investigation Team in Essex, having been unceremoniously dumped from her previous life for doing the right thing. Thrust into the ebb and flow of a case investigating missing and murdered girls, she barely has time to draw breath –  whilst she is intuitive and intelligent she holds herself back in an attempt to stop rocking the boat – this gives her an appealing edge over other female leading characters in crime fiction and makes you root for her all the way.

Definitely one of the most readable crime novels I have read recently, there is a beauty in the writing and a definite addictive quality to it which keeps you turning the pages and eager to know how it all pans out. An enthralling story and a great supporting cast adds to the whole and Grace’s back story becomes more and more compelling as more details start to emerge. Some dark themes explored as well – obsession and domestic violence along with some interesting threads to do with freedom of the press and police politics – overall this was a superb example of its kind and I really cannot recommend it highly enough for fans of Crime Fiction.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

20697571

Publication Date: October 21st 2014 from Soho Press.

Source: Netgalley

A young writer arrives at a prison to interview a man arrested for homicide. He has been commissioned to write a full account of the case, from its bizarre and grisly details to the nature of the man behind the crime. The suspect, while world-renowned as a photographer, has a deeply unsettling portfolio—lurking beneath the surface of each photograph is an acutely obsessive fascination with his subject.

This one was a bit hit and miss for me – the story was intriguing for sure and there is some dark obsessive traits to the flow of the novel that do keep you reading – however, whether something was lost in translation or whether it was just me, the whole thing felt a little disjointed.

On the plus side it is a compelling tale – A writer preparing to write a book about some grisly murders begins interviewing the killer – but some dark secrets start to emerge which changes his outlook on the whole thing and leads him down a dark path. I particularly loved the themes relating to creativity and when it becomes obsesssion, the dangerous nature of the protagonists becoming clearer and some of it is really quite frightening.

However I found it hard to separate the characters on occasion – the writing style didnt really change, and sometimes the plot lost cohesion and you were not really sure where you were. Whilst the killer and the writer are well drawn, I found the women to be too caricature for me – over the top and unlikely, which sometimes took me out of the moment. It also suffered from a rather convoluted (in my opinion) resolution and a tendency to pull plot threads out of nowhere. To be fair that is likely to be translation issues rather than anything else but still it grated somewhat.

There is definitely a great book in here, the premise is clever, the execution may be hit and miss as I said but still I read to the end because I absolutely had to know what was going on and what the outcome would be.

Overall, good not great, but worth a try if you like your fiction with a dark heart.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

 

46116_GiftOfDarkness_JKT.indd

Publication Date: Available now from Quercus

Source: Publisher Review copy.

Twenty-five years ago in the woods near the Hoh River in Seattle, three boys were kidnapped. One did not come home.
A quarter of a decade later, a family of four is found brutally murdered, the words thirteen days scratched near their lifeless bodies.
Homicide Detective Alice Madison ran away from home as a child, one breath away from committing an unforgivable act; as an adult, she found her peace chasing the very worst humanity has to offer. Madison believes these murders are linked. And she has thirteen days to prove it.

So I am a huge Crime Fiction fan, have been since the day I picked up my first Agatha Christie novel in my teens – and I ALWAYS love getting in at the start of a new series. I don’t always love them, there is also the thing that when it comes to Crime Fiction it is VERY subjective as to which ones will stick with you and which ones will just be ok, or you are not so bothered by. In this case, for whatever reason, this one was spot on perfect for me, and I feel very strongly that this is a series that is going to have me addicted and dying for the next instalment. In fact I am reading the sequel “The Dark” right now…

Reasons? Well for one there is Alice Madison. She has her inner demons, fairly standard for a main protagonist, but in the case of Alice they are highly intriguing, well imagined and extremely well written ones that actually inform the story and move it forward in a realistic yet fascinating manner. She is both likeable yet most definitely flawed in a way that I related to and I wanted, in fact needed, to follow along with her.

Another reason is the character relationships. Alice may be the detective but actually there is a triangle here – during the course of the novel she becomes inextricably linked to a lawyer and  his friend, a known killer who the police have never managed to prosecute – and this relationship is a dark, often mutually destructive and intense one that forms the backdrop to the debut and sets up a particularly intriguing ongoing storyline. For me this gave an added depth to proceedings, a little added frisson to the heart of the tale, and I absolutely fell in love with all three characters, both individually and as a rather compelling trio.

Then of course there is the mystery, the crime being solved, which is intelligently plotted, not immediately obvious and very captivating. Some beautiful little twists and turns along the way, a gorgeous darkly addictive writing style and some alluring psychological character building not limited to our three main interests, make this a terrific read from start to finish.

I would definitely highly recommend it for fans of this genre – whilst as I stated above, a love of Crime Fiction with all its choices will always end up being a subjective love, there is a lot to fall for here and I can tell you that the quality and depth of writing is excellent and continues into book Two. So give it a go – You never know, perhaps you will also find a new series here that you want to follow along with…

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

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Publication Date: Available Now from Myriad Editions

Source: Publisher Review Copy.

When Nina returns to work after recovering from a near-fatal injury, she’s supposed to be keeping her head down. But the cold case she’s working on – an infamous train crash from 1964 – is no match for the lure of the shootings, drugs deaths and robberies keeping her colleagues busy.

The second book in the “Nina Foster” series from Lisa Cutts and my first read – I do have the debut “Never Forget” which I purchased a while ago, but due to time constraints at the moment I decided I was going to jump into this one and be up to date. Well kind of. I will definitely be going back to read the first one now and there was absolutely no issue in storyline by starting here.

Nina is back at work and being treated with kid gloves – NOT something she is particularly fond of and I immediately got a feel for her as a character as she pretty much set her own path, so there was an instant connection for me as a reader – when she is tasked with looking into an old case, but it turns out to have very particular implications on a current one, the scene is set for a terrific mystery and a very addictive story.

I do love Crime Fiction – there is an element of fun to reading Crime that you cannot get from any other type of novel – so when it is done well, as it certainly is here, it is pure joy to read. There is a wonderful flow, some terrifically drawn characters and an intelligent intriguing mystery to solve as you go. Written in a way that allows you to interpret the clues and follow the trail alongside our main protagonists, with some surprising twists and turns along the way to keep you on your toes, it was a thoroughly enjoyable and  fast paced, imaginative read.

There are a lot of police procedurals around in the market these days, some might say too many, but for me it just goes to show how popular this type of novel is. When you get one like this it is very easy to see why – when you are reading for pure escapism, but do also want an emotional resonance to it, this is the type of book you pick up. In the case of this particular example, you will not be disappointed –  Some great writing, with creative character development, wrapped up in a riddle to solve, if you are a fan of Crime fiction then this is not to be missed.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

20767180

Publication Date: Available Now from Severn House.

Source: Netgalley

Hannah, Adam and adorable young Sydney Wickes are living under assumed identities in West Philadelphia. Although she s found it hard to adjust to life in the city, at least Hannah and her family are safe and slowly beginning to build new lives for themselves. But all that changes when an unexpected tragedy throws the harsh spotlight of publicity onto the Wickes family, putting them in serious danger. Because Hannah and those she loves are hiding a dark secret in their past, a secret that has torn their lives apart. For what do you do when the person you should love the most poses the greatest threat? The Wickes sinister family secret is destined to catch up with them with terrifying consequences.

This is my first novel from this author and I found it to be an excellent psychological thriller with some very dark themes, handled well in an extremely readable fashion that kept me turning the pages long into the night.

Hannah, Adam and Sydney are in hiding, under assumed identities, due to a problem in their past. When an unexpected event throws them into the spotlight, the past comes back to haunt them in a terrifying fashion.

This was intelligently constructed, the past event that lead them into hiding is not what you might think and the characters are all well drawn, complicated in some ways, but eminently intriguing. There is a strong undercurrent of menace that runs through the narrative keeping you on edge and the story flows along with a perfect flow, understanding of the true nature of the danger facing them unfolding in thought provoking fashion.

Overall a terrific read, one that has encouraged me to try some other novels from Patricia Macdonald.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Publication Date: Available now from Carina.

Source: Netgalley

Eight years ago, Lucy and Ethan Randall’s little boy, Jack, was abducted and murdered by teenager Terry Prince. A moment’s distraction had ripped a family apart – and with the loss of their son came the collapse of the Randalls’ marriage. Now, Jack’s killer has walked free, giving him the second chance at life that little Jack never had. Lucy’s wounds newly opened, her world is turned upside down a second time when another child goes missing – and she can’t shake the suspicion that Prince has struck again.

I had a real love hate relationship with this book. The majority of it was absolutely brilliant, heart wrenching, emotional and giving a portrait of loss, grief and healing, with our main character Lucy still trying to come to terms with the loss of her child when his killer is released – setting off a whole new range of emotions that threaten to tear her apart.

Things I loved: The difficult and emotional relationship Lucy has with her eldest child, who is now a teenager with all the ups and downs that brings, but with the added difficulty of his own guilty feelings about the day his brother went missing. I found this to be extremely well drawn, realistic and it absolutely tugged on my heartstrings. Generally as well the issues between Lucy and her ex husband are also intelligently written with a devastating look at how the loss of a child can affect and in this case end a marriage.

I also thought the mystery element was very well done – when another child disappears it falls to the lead officer in Jack’s case to take on the mantle of another child abduction investigation – and his thoughts, feelings and actions are for the most part shrewdly woven into the narrative to give a different voice and attitude to proceedings. A well flowing and excellent plot to be sure.

But then…sex. Oh dear me. I am aware that this is very subjective and in general I am not adverse to a darn good sex scene if it is in keeping with the rest of the novel and adds something to the characters or the plot that gives them a greater depth. But for me, in this case, it just BAM took me right out of the moment. Initially the growing attraction between Lucy and Matt (the police officer) was subtle and added to the flow, but then at seemingly to me VERY odd times they went in for a descriptively written moment of bed hopping. There was one particular instance of this that had me shaking my head – I cant say more due to spoilers but it really did grate on me personally as a reader due to what was going on around them at the time. For me, it was not required, didnt really add anything and all it did  was remove me from the emotion of the tale – and it IS a very emotional story.

Back to the plus side, I like how Ms Kelly has managed to make me think about acts of vengeance, whether it is ever justified and also to give real consideration to our justice system and how, when an offender is supposedly “rehabilitated”, what the consequences are to both victim and perpertrator when he or she is released back into the community. It was an interesting sub plot if you like, how the decision is made and how wide ranging the affects of that can be – and it was definitely part of the book that engaged my brain.

Overall then, yes as I said. Love/Hate relationship for me as a reader but I would still have no hesitation recommending it to fans of mystery and psychological tales, and it certainly has not put me off reading more from this author in the future because the writing itself was great and the main basis of the story was addictively good.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Publication Date: Available now from Aspendawn Books  

Source: Netgalley

Melanie Hudson blames herself for her son’s unsolved kidnapping eight years ago. She should never have taken her eyes off her precious toddler. That fateful day, she lost her son, her marriage…and her moral conscience. Now she feels justified in snatching unattended children – if only for an hour. The lesson to parents: Watch your children!

Yes, well. This promised so much, and parts of it were terrific, but overall I think that somewhere in there a trick was missed…

The premise is actually really excellent – Melanie, having lost a child herself, is obsessed with how other parents raise their kids. So much so that she takes children, randomly, and keeps them for an hour or so before returning them unharmed. The point for her being, watch your children or you may end up like me. This portion of the story was really very well done, I felt that Melanie’s motivations and self reasoning were clear, realistic and  likely – it made me feel for her in a lot of ways even though she was putting other parents through a time, however short,  of absolute terror. She has very normal feelings of guilt and genuinely wants to save others from the horror of permanently losing their children, is obviously suffering from depression and not getting the help she needs.

So for the first third, as we watch Melanie in her life, with the occasional flashback to her time with her baby, this is an addictive and emotional read that will touch your heart and give you something to think about. Then after Melanie meets Scott, a prosecutor, and begins to realise that what she is doing is wrong, the whole thing suddenly went insanely fast. Police investigation, resolution of the original kidnapping, new relationship forming, Melanie coming to terms – it was all terribly rushed and not very well constructed. It totally lost me, I didnt really feel anything and I lost my sympathy for any of them, frankly. And the solutions were highly questionable with regards to motive that seemed to have been pulled out of pretty thin air. I would have liked this to be longer – it is a short read, it only took me a couple of hours, and my opinion is that had the author expanded and extended, keeping up the same emotional resonance and depth of feeling that she brought to the first part, this could have been something very special.

Ambience wise it is good, but I honestly felt as if this were two people writing it, one for the first bit and one for the second. So in the end it was fine but didnt really do it for me as a whole, complete and fulfilling tale.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

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Publication Date: 11th September from Simon and Shuster UK

Source: Netgalley

Julia has always been the friend that Livy turns to when life is difficult. United fifteen years ago by grief at the brutal murder of Livy’s sister, Kara, they’ve always told each other everything.
Or so Livy thought. So when Julia is found dead in her home, Livy cannot come to terms with the news that she chose to end her own life. The Julia that Livy knew was vibrant and vivacious, a far cry from the selfish neurotic that her family seem determined to paint her as.

So my favourite kind of read then, psychological thrillers – my second novel from Sophie McKenzie, having loved “Close my Eyes”.

In this story, Livy is devastated when best friend Julia apparently commits suicide – not buying it at all, she begins to investigate Julia’s life and realises that perhaps she did not know her at all. Alienating everyone around her, Livy is determined to get to the truth of the matter but danger lies ahead as she stirs up an age old murder and finds herself in the sights of a killer…

This was an intriguing and engaging read, with a few good twists and turns, even though I spotted the murderer quite early on this did not detract from my overall enjoyment of the novel, probably because there were some great characters in here that I was eager to follow through to the finish.

On the plus side, Livy is well imagined and has a good depth to her – her actions, even whilst occasionally rather inept, are all realistic to the character. The killer, when given a voice, is truly chilling, their actions described in a matter of fact manner that sends a shiver through you. On the more negative side, by the end of the novel I didnt really feel I knew Julia at all – she is described in retrospect by several other people all of whom have a different viewpoint – realistic perhaps yes, but I would have liked her to be more grounded. I really liked Will, Livy’s husband, but again felt that he was a bit too much in the background,  as he is central to Livy’s world and dictates a lot of her emotion and mindset.

Having said all that, this was definitely a page turner – there are some truly edge of the seat moments and I found the ending to be satisfying and exciting, Ms McKenzie managing to ramp up the intensity at just the right moment. The overall flow of the novel is great, building the tension and leading you to the moment where all is revealed and the final showdown brings all the threads together in a heart stopping section that will have you holding your breath.

Overall a highly enjoyable read and definitely recommended for fans of crime fiction and psychological thrillers.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Publication Date: 19th August 2014 from Gallery.

Thank you to the author and publisher for the netgalley review copy.

Dr. Sheridan Doyle, a fastidiously groomed and TV-friendly forensic psychologist, is the go-to shrink for the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office whenever a twisted killer’s mind eludes other experts. But beneath his Armani pinstripes, he’s still Danny Doyle, the awkward, terrified, bullied boy from a blue-collar mining family. Returning to a hometown grappling with its own ghosts, Danny finds a dead body at the infamous Lost Creek gallows where a band of rebellious Irish miners was once executed. Strangely, the body is connected to the wealthy family responsible for the miners’ deaths. Teaming up with veteran detective Rafe, a father-like figure from his youth, Danny, in pursuit of a killer, comes dangerously close to startling truths about his family, his past, and himself.

This is my first Tawni O Dell novel and I found it to be a well written and engaging psychological thriller, very much character driven and with some very dark undertones that kept me enthralled throughout the reading experience –  I will definitely be tracking down more books from this author.

Told as it is from two different viewpoints  – Danny and Scarlet – it has a great depth of atmosphere and some truly chilling moments alongside real psychological insight into the characters and what has led them here. Not so much a “whodunnit” as a “whydunnit” this tracks the history and events leading up to the time that brings Danny back to his childhood home and the ramifications of some hidden truths coming to light.

Atmospherically speaking the sense of place is magnificent – the dying town of Lost Creek is brought into sharp focus by some imaginative and intelligent writing that lets you see what is bubbling just beneath the surface. A dark history abounds here and its effects are far reaching – by allowing her characters to lead the way Ms O Dell manages to keep you off kilter, never sure what may be just around the corner, at the same time giving a snapshot of small town life and the intricacy of that which is absolutely fascinating.

I don’t want to delve too much into the plot – it has a rich vein of history running through it and one of those stories where discovery is key, the slow but steady build up of information is done here in top notch fashion and I would highly recommend that you go into it with as little prior information as possible.

Overall an excellent read in one of my favourite genre’s and comes recommended for fans of Crime fiction with an edge.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

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Publication Date: 7th August from Quercus.

Source: Review copy provided by Publisher.

Translated from the German by Anthea Bell.

Bavaria, Germany, 1947
At the end of the war, Afra Zauner returns to her parents’ cottage on the edge of Mauther Forest. Unmarried, and pregnant. As she struggles to raise her child, her father’s shame, her mother’s fury and the loud whispers of the neighbours begin to weigh upon her. She doesn’t believe in her sin. But everyone else does.
And someone brings judgement down upon her.
Many years later, Hermann Müller is throwing a drunk out of his tavern. A traveller, who won’t stop ranting about a murder left unsolved, about police who never investigated. Out of curiousity, the file is reopened. And in the cold light of hindsight, a chilling realisation creeps upon the community.

A very evocative and cleverly written murder mystery novella – telling the story from several viewpoints we are inexorably led to the truth about a murder 18 years cold – this is not a police procedural or a traditional mystery/thriller, it is more a story of retrospection, looking back from a distance to realise that what was assumed was not actually true.

There are several themes running through the narrative that add to the overall ambience – the attitude of the day towards single parents, the understanding or lack thereof of dementia, a different world both in philosophy and procedure that leads to a murderer going free. As we learn about that day so long ago, interspersed with statements from various players in the present time, a remarkable and emotional tale comes into the light.

I was very taken with all the characters, the atmosphere and sense of place was magnificent, painting a picture for the reader as the story unfolded – a short but sweet read that will have you immersed into the tale throughout and awaiting the final outcome.

Overall an excellent book and one I would recommend especially to anyone who likes the mystery genre but are looking for something a bit off the beaten track.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Publication Date: 14th August 2014 from Harvill Secker.

Thank you to the author and publisher for the Advance Reading Copy.

‘As soon as they processed my release Noah and I hit the ground running. A change of clothes. A wig. An inconspicuous sedan. We doubled back once, twice, then drove south when we were really headed east. In San Francisco we had a girl who looked like me board a plane to Hawaii.
Oh, I thought I was so clever.
But you probably already know that I’m not.’

Oh I was SO excited for this one and it absolutely lived up to my expectation and then some.

I love a good twisty tale – yes I know you all know that – they are especially good when you have a feisty often unlikeable but eminently intriguing heroine that doesnt always get it right such as the wonderfully drawn Janie Jenkins. She drags you along in her wake as she tries to discover the truth about her mother and who might have killed her, and it all flows beautifully from the pen of Elizabeth Little in an addictive and terribly terrific way.

Janie Jenkins, Socialite, IT girl, was convicted of murdering her mother. Released on a technicality and stalked across the country by the tabloid press, she begins to discover that Dear Mother may not have been quite as she appeared. The story twists and turns as Janie meets some people from the past she never even knew existed and begins to unravel a web of deception.

This is not a unique story – in a lot of ways it is a classic “whodunnit” tale but done with such wit and exuberance that you can’t help but be involved every step of the way – hard to put aside and so superbly readable that you may find yourself multi-tasking (I apologise to the book for the odd cookery stain) if you love a good thrilling read you will devour this one in record time.

The characters all have depth and substance, the mystery element is intelligent and often unexpected and overall I would be more than happy to give this one a Highly Recommended tag most especially for lovers of all things crime and mystery.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

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Publication Date 14th August from Little Brown.

Thank you to the author and publisher for the review copy via netgalley.

Mr Marseille is polite, elegant, and erudite. He would do anything for his genteel true love Anabelle. And he is a psychopath.
A quiet Philadelphia suburb. A woman cycles past a train depot with her young daughter. And there she finds a murdered girl posed on a newly painted bench. Strangled. Beside her is a formal invite to a tea dance in a week’s time.
Seven days later, two more young victims are discovered in a disused house, posed on painted swings. At the scene is an identical invite. This time, though, there is something extra waiting for Detectives Kevin Byrne and Jessica Balzano.
A delicate porcelain doll. It’s a message. And a threat.With Marseille and Anabelle stalking the city, Detectives Byrne and Balzano have just seven days to find the link between the murders before another innocent child is snatched from its streets.

So another outing for one of my favourite detective duo’s Byrne and Balzano, and another terrifically chilling journey into the heart of darkness.

I love these books even though, frankly, Mr Montanari’s “bad guys” tend to scare the bejeezus out of me and usually stalk me around my dreams during the reading experience, often lingering for quite a while afterwards. Hey we all like to be scared occasionally and for me, the scariest moments come not from monsters under the bed but the monsters hidden in plain sight – and this is what this author pulls off so well every single time.

The series has grown in stature with every book since its beginnings in “The Rosary Girls”, one of the best things about it being the main character progression – both Jessica and Kevin have come a long way since we first met them way back when, and meeting them again is always a joy. In this instalment they are facing true horror as the city’s children are in danger and it is a race against time to prevent another loss – but this may come a little closer to home than either of them expect.

I’m always addicted once I start – the plotting is intelligent and keeps you on the edge of your seat, but there is also a lot of emotional depth to all the people and a really really good sense of place which keeps you immersed in the story throughout. The villains get as much attention as our good guys – the reason why I get so freaked out by them is because the psychological depth is always extremely well drawn, the backstory clever and the feel for them real. They could be you. They could be me. Its ok…its not me!

Overall a brilliant addition to an already brilliant series and one I would highly recommend for any Crime Fiction fan.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Publication Date: August 7th 2014 from Little Brown.

Thank you to the author and publisher for the review copy via NetGalley

Why would a man escape from prison the day before he’s due to be released?
Audie Palmer has spent a decade in prison for an armed robbery in which four people died, including two of his gang. Five million dollars has never been recovered and everybody believes that Audie knows where the money is.
For ten years he has been beaten, stabbed, throttled and threatened almost daily by fellow inmates and prison guards, who all want to answer this same question, but suddenly Audie vanishes, the day before he’s due to be released.
Everybody wants to find Audie, but he’s not running. Instead he’s trying to save a life . . . and not just his own.

I’ve long been a fan of Michael Robotham’s crime novels, this one is a brilliant and addictive standalone story that had me madly reading in great big chunks as I was absolutely determined to find out what on earth was going on.

One day before he is due to be released, Audie Palmer makes his escape from Jail and appears to go on the run – but why? Another 24 hours would have seen him free. What follows is a heart stopping race against time as Audie attempts to evade his would be captors and right a wrong – there is a lot more going on than meets the eye and it is truly compelling stuff. At turns very emotional and then extremely thrilling, it twists and turns its way to an  electrifying finale.

I’ve always loved the depth that this author brings to his characters – there was a definite touch of the “Shawshank” about this one as we learn about Audie, his time in Jail and eventually what it is that is driving him. Surrounded by a beautifully drawn cast of eclectic characters, the whole thing is ingeniously constructed, completely hooks you in right from the start and has such a wonderful flow to it that you won’t want to put it down. Indeed as I headed into the final part of this, I couldnt put it down – I completed it bleary eyed yet satisfied at 3am one morning.

Michael Robotham never fails to deliver on great writing, intelligent plotting and people you will fall for and this was no exception to the rule. I have absolutely no hesitation in giving this, and all the other books from this author,  a highly recommended tag.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Publication Date: August 1st 2014 from Randomhouse.

Thank you to the author and publisher for the review copy via Netgalley.

The summer of 1976.
The whole country baking in a heatwave. And in a sleepy Derbyshire village a man, known locally as the Ugly Man, walks into his local with a claw hammer and in front of everyone brutally murders the young woman behind the bar.
For Patricia Lancing, juggling the demands of being a wife and mother alongside her desire to get recognition as an investigative journalist, this could be the case that makes her career.
If she survives it.

Very atmospheric and absorbing tale – tagged as a short story, but at about 116 pages more of a novella, this is the first story by P.D. Viner that I have read – and I definitely want to read more.

The ambience and feel of the 1970’s is right in there, alongside a great set of characters, I especially liked how the author captures so well how it was for women, even in that decade. Constantly passed over for her male colleagues, despite being better at her job than they are, you will be right there with Patricia as she is determined to change all that – but finds herself in deep water.

Some of this is quite emotional – the “Ugly Man” is disfigured hence his nickname and at times I empathised despite his actionsThe “whydunnit” is very well handled and keeps you turning the pages in order to find out what its all about. Overall a terrific little read.

I would recommend this for fans of crime and mystery who like something just a little different in their main protagonist.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

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Publication Date: Available now from Headline.

Thank you to the author and publisher for the review copy.

Any bloody death will lead Inspectors Ikmen and Suleyman out onto the dark streets of Istanbul. On January 21, a half-decapitated corpse in the poor multicultural district of Tarlabasi poses a particularly frustrating and gruesome mystery. But as the months pass and the violence increases, it turns into a hunt for that rare phenomenon in the golden city on the Bosphorus: a serial killer.

Admittedly I have dipped in and out of this long running series – one I enjoy a lot but have been terrible at keeping up with – so I was very pleased to leap back into the fray with “Body Count” and I enjoyed it very much again. I will definitely be heading into my backlist!

The thing I love most about these is the setting – Ms Nadel manages to bring into sharp focus the ambience and atmosphere of Istanbul, a place I have never been but feel like I have. It makes for a much better reading experience when you can sense and almost feel the places that the protagonists are living and working in and that is definitely one of the real strengths of this series.

Intelligent plotting as ever, with a dark undertone and a much welcome return of the grumpy yet loveable Inspector Ikmen, we are back in serial killer territory here and of course I do adore a good serial killer thriller. Another book that has haunted my dreams lately, which always means it was a good one, I was completely immersed in this throughout. A really durable series within a plethora of great crime fiction long may this continue.

Definitely recommended for fans of crime and thrillers with an exotic twist.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

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Publication Date: Available Now from Open Road Media.

Thank you to the author and publisher for the review copy via netgalley

An heiress breaks free of social conventions and attempts to solve the mystery of her father’s disappearance in 1842 Philadelphia in Cordelia Frances Biddle’s first Martha Beale mystery.
When her father fails to appear for lunch at their country estate, Martha Beale knows something is wrong. The family’s faithful dogs discover Lemuel Beale’s hunting rifle by the river, but there is no sign of the millionaire financier. Refusing to believe he is dead, his daughter—and sole heir—begins a discreet investigation with the help of the mayor’s aide, Thomas Kelman.

This was a fairly intriguing historical crime mystery, to be honest however I was a bit up and down with it. Certain parts of the story had me hooked – the sense of time and place, a womans’s role in that place and Martha’s attempts to break that and track down her father are all well done and the ambience surrounding the society of the time is authentic. However, I wasnt really fond of Martha as a character – I found her annoying a lot of the time – although to be fair, as we reached the end of the story she did come into her own a little bit more, the journey she  took often had me shaking my head.

The mystery element IS well done for sure – although the heart of the book can be found more in the society portions of the novel – and I was compelled to find out what was what. As this is the first book in a series I will be very interested to see what is next for Martha. If the author can keep her character moving forward, I can see this developing into an interesting series and one which I would like to keep up with.

A solid 3* read with the potential to become much more.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Publication Date: 1st July 2014 from Black and White publishing.

Thank you to the author and publisher for the review copy.

Bristol, 1965. Joseph Tremaine “JT” Ellington, an ex-cop with a tragic past and a broken heart, has left his native Barbados in search of a better life in the Mother Country. But Bristol in the Sixties is far from the Promised Land and JT faces hostility from both the weather and the people.
Then local mogul Earl Linney approaches him. He needs JT’s help finding Stella Hopkins, a young deaf and mute West Indian woman who has gone missing, and who the police aren’t interested in searching for. With rent due, and no job, JT has little option than to accept.

So I’m sat here thinking what to say in my review, but actually my head is still stuck in 1960’s Bristol pretty much, along with JT who is as alive in my head as any character has ever been, so hey I guess thats one way of saying I rather liked this one.

Anway, I digress. The point is that there are a lot of terrific debuts coming this year, some of which I’ve had the joy of reading already and this right here is another one to watch out for, especially for fans of crime fiction with a distinct noir feel but also with the added bonus of some brilliantly drawn and impressive characters. There is a richness of language here and a whole different era to discover which will hook you right into the story and hold you there enthralled throughout.

I adored JT as a character, I rooted for him all the way. I was also very fond of Vic, I totally fell in love. Added to that there is a plethora of other supporting characters, both peripheral and right in the middle of things that give the whole thing a realistic bent and keep you turning the pages avidly devouring every move they make. Set against a Bristol backdrop, that city comes to life right before your eyes with a terrifically well balanced sense of place and time making this extremely well constructed and absolutely addictive.

Overall a stunning debut and one that comes highly recommended from me.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Publication Date: Available now

Thank you to the author for the review copy.

Ellie is a dreamer and her dreams often find their way into her writing. Inexperienced, and under no illusions about her own attractiveness, she is shocked and delighted when a fellow student, the enigmatic Adam, starts to pay her attention. Although Adam is secretive about his own life, she resolves to record every moment of this exciting time and her journal will prove to be critical when her friends suspect she is in real danger. What they read seems to confirm all their fears, but how much of it can we believe?

So in “Deceiving Ellie” we are hearing from the main character via her diary entries as she tells the story of how she meets Adam  – an enigmatic and good looking guy who pays her attention and flatters her. He behaves a little strangely but she puts it down to shyness – when he asks her to go away for a caravan holiday, she jumps at the chance. But all may not be as it seems.

This is a well written tale, if a little long winded in places, I still found the ambience of Ellie’s entries to be quite charming. Obviously a bit naive, a girl who dreams of true love and allows herself to trust a little too easily, it has an open and chatty style that suits the character perfectly. Once they arrive at their destination, things take a sinister turn as Adam’s behaviour becomes ever more strange and erratic, but still Ellie is hoping that things will be fine. There was some suspension of disbelief required overall at her inaction to some glaringly obvious danger signals but mostly I was enthralled by the situation she found herself in and there are some terrific plot developments and little twists to the tale that all add to the whole beautifully.

It does feel like a book that needs a sequel – I have to admit to being vaguely confused by the ending, and it didnt feel as finished as I would like personally as a reader – but that is a subjective thing and the main issues are cleared up satisfactorily. Overall a terrific little mystery with a twist in the tale and I do kind of hope to meet Ellie again.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Available Now from Mantle

Thank you to the author and publisher for the review copy.

The Second World War has ended, leaving a bruised and fragile peace. But this tranquillity is threatened when a shocking murder takes place in the Sussex countryside. Before long, police experts discover a link to another, earlier, killing hundreds of miles away . . .
Another John Madden mystery (I am a huge fan of these) and yet another atmospheric, beautifully set and terrifically written “old school” mystery from Rennie Airth.

This time it appears as if there is a mad gunman on the loose – despite repeated attempts to discover a link between the victims, the waters are murky. Enter almost by accident, John Madden, who may unwittingly hold the key to the motive for the crime..but can it be discovered in time to save more lives?

These novels have such a gentle, beautiful flow to them, putting you right into that time and place without effort, a time when the country was mending itself after a horrific war, rationing was still in place and things were difficult all round. There is a definite Christie style and ambience to these stories which for me makes them all the better, especially as I am a huge fan of those ageless tales.

Plot development is always perfectly paced, the characters are all terrifically well drawn, I’m particularly fond of Helen, John’s wife…and Billy Styles is one of my favourite policemen. Overall another fantastic read and I really can’t wait for the next.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Available now from Mantle

Thank you to the author and publisher for the review copy.

Edie Kiglatuk works as a summer school teacher in the Canadian arctic. When one of her female students is found dead in nearby Lake Turngaluk, Edie enlists the help of Sergeant Derek Palliser to pursue the case, promising the girl’s Inuit family that they will uncover the truth. Meanwhile, lawyer Sonia Gutierrez investigates the toxicity of the lake and suspects that there might be a larger conspiracy involved. As the three clamber over rocky terrain under twenty-four-hour daylight they start to unearth secrets long frozen over—risking their own lives in the process.

This is the 3rd in the Edie Kiglatuk series but actually the first one I have read – which made no difference at all, this can easily be read as a standalone, but I will definitely be heading backwards and picking the first two up.

This was a chilly and dark tale – magnificently atmospheric, bringing to life the difficult and lonely conditions in the Canadian Arctic, with a sharp focus on the people who live and work there. The relationship between the locals and the recent military addition to the environment is extremely well drawn and gives the whole story a more menacing edge as distrust is the default position. Edie, desperate to find out the truth behind the death of Martha, has some realistic and stark difficulties to overcome. It would be easy to blame an outsider, but there is a lot more going on here than first meets the eye.

Well plotted, some beautifully eclectic characters, a wild and dangerous backdrop, all come together to create an inventive intelligent tale that will keep you enthralled throughout. Excellent stuff can’t wait for more.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

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Publication Date: 17th June 2014 from St Martins Press.

Thank you to the author and publisher for the review copy via Netgalley.

As a teenager, Toni Murphy had a life full of typical adolescent complications: a boyfriend she adored, a younger sister she couldn’t relate to, a strained relationship with her parents, and classmates who seemed hell-bent on making her life miserable. Things weren’t easy, but Toni could never have predicted how horrific they would become until her younger sister was brutally murdered one summer night.
Toni and her boyfriend, Ryan, were convicted of the murder and sent to prison.

This is the second novel I have read from Chevy Stevens, the first being “Still Missing” which was superb – this one however took my addictive reading personality to WHOLE new levels. From the very moment I picked it up I was immersed into the story which flowed at a terrific pace and was at times thrilling and at times very emotional. Great all round.

We follow Toni as she leaves Prison and tries to re-start her life. As she returns to her hometown and tries to settle, hoping to leave the past behind her and let go of her trauma, she soon becomes caught up once again in the mystery surrounding the murder of her sister. Most people assume she is guilty but she knows better. Using present time and flashback, the author weaves a twisted and fascinating tale that will have you rapidly turning the pages to discover the truth.

As well as being a terrific mystery this also has some real character depth and insight, looking as it does at relationships in high school, bullying and rebellion, and the very authentic dynamic that can exist between teenagers and their parents – alongside the often fiery love/hate feelings that occur between siblings. The whole thing is actually very realistic, Toni is far from a typical teenager and yet she is also exactly that. The resolution when it comes is clever, but what I liked most about this one was the emotion behind it all. Toni’s feelings about everyone and everything ping off the page and into your head and you will feel for her a great deal even when she is behaving quite atrociously. All in all hugely intelligent character building, especially when it comes to the growing – the differences between Toni the teenager and Toni the adult, with all her experiences.

Very good indeed. Highly Recommended.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Thank you to the author and publisher for the netgalley review copy.

Greece, 1980

Emma takes part in a shattering, violent event. An event to which she is anything but an innocent bystander.
She is only eighteen, but this marks her fall from innocence.
It will haunt her for the rest of her life.
In present day London Kate has the perfect existence: a glossy image, a glamorous home, a perfect family.
But there are cracks.
All is not what it seems.
And now the two worlds are about to collide.
Somebody’s out for revenge.
Someone who has been waiting thirty years..

I loved “Tarnished” so I dove right into The Long Fall and, well, it was positively full to the brim of brilliantly addictive characters, some wonderful twisty turny storytelling and plenty of emotion. From me as well. I did a lot of shouting, the odd bit of sighing and also shed a tear or two especially at the end.

The one thing I love about Ms Crouch and her novels is the amazing way she writes the relationships between her characters, with all the nuances and emotions that are just below the surface, those things that create or break a friendship or a love connection. And how all of them are so beautifully flawed in such utterly authentic ways. Add into that the life events that can overtake us all and you have the ingredients for a page turner of the highest order. Indeed.

I was extremely attached to Emma – on her first real life adventure so much goes horribly wrong for her, I felt her anguish and her horror. With an equal amount of attachment I wanted to kick Kate up the bottom for her complete inability to think straight half the time. This is how Ms Crouch gets you – you are so immersed into what is going on you half feel you COULD make comment and be heard.

As we read about Emma’s journey via her diary, and watch as Kate attempts to stop her life unravelling, it really is compelling stuff. On top of that there is an absolute sense of place, especially when it comes to the portions set in Greece – so the journey is taken by the reader as much as by the characters. And that folks is how to write a story with a heart of gold.

I had my favourite character – Tilly – and my least favourite character – nope not saying – I fell into the story at every opportunity I had and I loved every minute of it. Wonderful descriptive prose, a touch of social commentary on how violence affects us and a hugely engaging and intriguing read.

Terrific stuff. Recommended.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Available now from Simon and Schuster.

Source: Purchased copy.

It’s been eight years since Gen Loxley lost her daughter, Beth: eight years of grief in which nothing’s really moved forward, for all that her husband, Art, wills it to. Gen, once a writer of novels, has settled in to a life of half-hearted teaching, while Art makes his name and their fortune – and pressures her into trying IVF once again. For Gen, it seems a cruel act of replacement; life without Beth is unthinkable, unbearable – but still it goes on. And then a woman arrives on Gen’s doorstep, saying the very thing she longs to hear: that her daughter was not stillborn, but was spirited away as a healthy child, and is out there, waiting to be found…So why is Art reluctant to get involved? To save his wife from further hurt? Or something much more sinister? What is the truth about Beth Loxley?

So another of my very favourite kind of books, those twisty turny psychological thrillers – this one had been languishing on my shelf for a while due to the ever growing to be read mountain, but finally it was time and it was a darn good read.

Gen drifts through life, still grieving, having never really moved on from losing her baby. When a woman turns up one morning and tells her that Beth is still alive somewhere, a chain of events are set in motion that will see Gen’s world turned completely upside down.

This was another utterly addictive read for me – helped along by a  terrifically compelling character, Gen, who you immediately get emotionally involved with and by her Husband Art, an enigmatic and driven man who may well be hiding some horrific secrets. Much of the brilliance in this story for me came within the relationship of these two, cleverly drawn, keeping you wondering about the true nature of it througout. Is Art lying? Or could it be genuine concern for Gen’s welfare? In a lot of ways, as well as being a fascinating mystery story this is also very much a tale of a marriage and just how well you can know a person even after many years together.

Offset by some great supporting characters – Gen’s best friend Hen, Art’s utterly absorbing Sister Morgan and various others, Ms McKenzie weaves a web of deception and intrigue around them that will have you often holding your breath, at other times wanting to knock heads together and with some very emotional and heartfelt  moments. As a whole I found this difficult to put down – I always wanted to know just one more thing about these people and what exactly happened eight years ago…

If I had any downsides at all they were slight – I did have to suspend disbelief on one or two occasions about the action (or lack thereof) that certain characters took at certain times, well you know these were the “knocking heads together” moments for me – and one of the characters in my head was a little too moustache twirly (sorry can’t put it better than that!) but overall this was absolutely terrific – and the ending blew my mind and gave me a sinister creepy feeling that didnt go away for a good few hours. Impressively achieved!

Definitely recommended highly for fans of the mystery genre. Top notch.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Available Now from Hodder and Staughton

Source: Owned copy.

As dusk approaches a small Dublin suburb in the summer of 1984, mothers begin to call their children home. But on this warm evening, three children do not return from the dark and silent woods. When the police arrive, they find only one of the children gripping a tree trunk in terror, wearing blood-filled sneakers, and unable to recall a single detail of the previous hours.
Twenty years later, the found boy, Rob Ryan, is a detective on the Dublin Murder Squad and keeps his past a secret. But when a twelve-year-old girl is found murdered in the same woods, he and Detective Cassie Maddox—his partner and closest friend—find themselves investigating a case chillingly similar to the previous unsolved mystery. Now, with only snippets of long-buried memories to guide him, Ryan has the chance to uncover both the mystery of the case before him and that of his own shadowy past.

So having recently read “The Secret Place” the new novel from Tana French coming this August (2014) I was not ready to let go so decided it was time for a re-read of all the other books in the series so far. Here we are then, starting with the debut “In the Woods”.

This was a nolstagic read for me, I remember very well how completely hooked I was the first time around and it was no different this. Again I was completely immersed into the world Ms French creates here, with its wonderfully drawn characters, emotive relationships and extremely addictive and well constructed mysteries.

The ebb and flow of people and places washes kind of gently over you, but at the heart of it is a darkness that will touch you. Rob Ryan has never really gotten over his childhood trauma much as he blocks it out and this shows in his actions during this case – which may or may not be connected to those long ago Summer days and the horror In the Woods. Cassie (a character I am about to meet again in “The Likeness”) is his best friend and colleague and the heart of this book is where they started and where they will end…its all beautifully done, emotional and very tense. As I said in my review of “The Secret Place” there is not an author out there in the crime genre who can touch Ms French on pure emotional resonance. I cannot recommend these books highly enough. For the main part of the review that is all I have to say.

MINOR SPOILER AHEAD DO NOT READ FURTHER IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO KNOW.

 

 

 

A note on the one thing about this book that tends to be the thing that makes people dislike it – there is no full closure for Rob Ryan. I don’t think thats much of a secret these days but still, I do not spoil things in my reviews so if you have not heeded the warning above then I take no responsibility. For me this was just right – there is no cheat here. The case in point has a full solution, but as with life sometimes, the mystery of what happened to Rob and his friends in the wood remains open. That has always stayed with me, I wonder about it even now, even before I began to read once again about Rob and his past. I do wonder if one day Ms French will return to the woods and tell us the story – perhaps if Rob himself remembers more..Hey I’d like to think so. Her novels as always are surprising, she may revisit any character at any time. I would like to meet Rob once more..

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

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Publication Date: Available now.

Thank you to all concerned for the netgalley review copy.

Chloe Benson wakes up kidnapped and bound in an underground tomb with no memory of how she got there.
She escapes through deserted woods with her life, but no one believes her story.
And when she suspects her husband is lying to her, Chloe is forced to retrace her past, following in her own footsteps to find the truth and stay alive.
But who is following Chloe?

Gosh I rattled my way through this one, such a great flow and such an intense storyline – Chloe tells the story as she wakes up, bound and alone and in complete darkness. A lot of panic and a lot of sheer determination later, she escapes her dungeon and collapses on the road…When she wakes up in the hospital she discovers she has lost 7 weeks of memory. When she insists she was abducted no-one will believe her. As she retraces her steps, determined to discover what it is she is blocking from her mind, it is truly addictive reading.

Now anyone that follows my reviews knows how much I love a good twisty psychological thriller and this one was fantabulous – for a minute there I thought perhaps this would be another one that would get me – but I did eventually work it out before all was revealed, yet it was late in the game. The author does a marvellous job of misdirection but the subtle clues are all there if you know where to look – and if you can stop sympathising with Chloe and metaphorically glaring at all those around her who are happy to believe she is losing her mind.

Cleverly done by blurring the lines between truth and lies, between what people see and what actually occurred – and by creating characters that you want to root for, or indeed want to throw shoes at (hey its my thing when people annoy me) – Sibel Hodge has managed to give us a terrific all round read that will keep you on your toes and playing the guessing game. Superbly done and with an extremely readable style I recommend this highly for fans of psychological thrillers.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Publication Date: Available NOW from Headline.

Thank you to the author and publisher for the review copy via BookBridgr

Dismas Hardy takes on a case that’s very close to home.
When Hal Chase’s wife, Katie, goes missing and he becomes the prime suspect for her murder, he wants Dismas Hardy as his lawyer.
Hardy calls on former homicide detective Abe Glitsky to look into the case. Chase certainly had strong motives but as Glitsky delves deeper, he identifies other possible suspects and he also uncovers an incident that might be related – the death of an inmate in the jail where Chase used to work.

So for me, a new Dismas Hardy book is like sinking into a hot bath at the end of a long and stressful day – Brilliantly relaxing, absolutely anticipated, with the knowledge that you are in for a treat. And hey, here we are at No 15 in the series and the quality and sheer joy of the reading experience has diminished not one iota. Blissful sigh.

In this instalment, Dismas takes on the case of Hal Chase, suspect in the disappearance of his wife – when it becomes clear that this is no open and shut case, he calls upon old friend Abe Glitsky to help. As Abe delves further into the people involved, secrets begin to emerge..

Once again Mr Lescroart weaves a twisty tale, immersing his well drawn and authentic characters right into the heart of the matter with a brilliantly flowing, addictive story that will keep you reading into the early hours. I’m not sure why but I’m always put in mind of Sherlock Holmes – probably because danger is often afoot, and the eclectic cast all mix it up beautifully to keep you on your toes and changing your mind about whats what. Plus of course there is Dismas himself, a man I’d sure want on my side if someone decided to accuse me of murder.

I can count on one hand the number of authors out there at the moment that can write really good legal and courtroom drama’s. Scott Turow is one, James Sheehan is another. And right at the top of the tree for me sits Mr Lescroart and Dismas Hardy – along with all his friends who often appear in novels in their own right. As a whole world created its pretty amazing. And I hope it continues for a good long while.

Highly Recommended. You can pick up any one of these and have a great reading experience. This one was top notch. But then they all are…

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Publication Date: 8th May 2014 from RandomHouse UK Cornerstone

Thank you to the author and publisher for the netgalley review copy.

Twenty years ago seven rich, privileged students became friends at their exclusive private school, Potter’s Field. Now they have started dying in the most violent way imaginable.
Detective Max Wolfe has recently arrived in the Homicide division of London’s West End Central, 27 Savile Row.
Soon he is following the bloody trail from the backstreets and bright lights of the city, to the darkest corners of the internet and all the way to the corridors of power.

This was an intriguing and well written crime thriller, a bit of a departure for the author I believe, this being the first novel of his I have read, I definitely enjoyed it. Max Wolfe is new to homicide and his first case is a difficult one – working with a boss whom he admires he wants to make a good impression but this will test him to his limits.

As a first in a series this was pretty well done – Max has an interesting background and the book opens with him still in this environment and immediately draws you in. As the story progresses we learn more about his personal life and the author sets things up nicely to make you want to learn more. The “mystery” element is well done, having its roots in past events, and with some great twists and turns to keep you on your toes. There are some dark themes here tackled imaginatively and with a great flow to the story and characters.

If there was one slight negative it would be that this is fairly generic stuff for the world of Crime Fiction, I would not be able to point to any one thing that sets it over and above other crime novels of its kind – but if you love the genre you will enjoy this one very much and there is plenty here to make you want to continue with the series – as I intend to do. I look forward to finding out whats next.

Recommended for: Crime Fiction fans and anyone looking for a new series to get their teeth into.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Thank you to the publisher for the review copy.

Two families entangled in a long and complex history of love and deceit . . Twenty five years ago, after a society picnic held by businessman and politician Zeus Kronon, Zeus’ headstrong daughter Dita was found murdered. Her boyfriend, Cass Gianis, confessed to the crime.Now Cass has been released from prison into the care of his twin, Mayoral candidate Paul Gianis, who is in the middle of a high profile political campaign. But Dita’s brother Hal is convinced there is information surrounding his sister’s death that remains buried – and he won’t rest until he’s discovered the truth.

I’ve long been a fan of Scott Turow’s novels since many years ago I read the brilliant “Presumed Innocent” He does write the most terrific legal mystery novels and this one was no exception to the rule.

Mr Turow always writes with great depth when it comes to relationships and the emotional resonance of how events affect us, weaving a tale around people and places that is always compelling, clever and thrilling to read – here he explores the ties that bind identical twins. Cass and Paul are so alike and yet so very different – when Cass is released after serving a 25 year sentence for murder, they hope to rediscover their relationship and get on with life. They reckon without Hal, who is absolutely certain that the whole truth has yet to be revealed.

I was immersed in this one immediately – I found both Cass and Paul to be extremely fascinating, their relationship being a naturally close one – and as the themes of family, betrayal, love and loss are explored here, the picture starts to become clearer…or does it..

As we follow along with the investigation undertaken by Hal’s employee’s and watch the legal battle unfold, it is captivating, highly entertaining and often emotional. Just what did happen on that fateful night all those years ago ? Cass may have confessed but Hal has no doubt that there is more to it – he is tenacious, difficult, unable to let go and often aggravating but he, also, is a completely fascinating character. Excellent storytelling and absolutely addictive.

All in all another terrific read for me – I am one happy reviewer at the moment. Enjoy!

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Thank you SO much Claire McGowan for sending me a proof copy.

A stolen baby. A murdered woman. A decades-old atrocity. Something connects them all.
A month before Christmas, and Ballyterrin on the Irish border lies under a thick pall of snow. When a newborn baby goes missing from hospital, it’s all too close to home for forensic psychologist Paula Maguire, who’s wrestling with the hardest decision of her life.

Last year I read “The Lost” the first in the Paula Maguire series from Claire McGowan and I loved every minute of it. Another series added to my “must reads” I was exceptionally happy to receive an advanced reading copy for the next book, “The Dead Ground”.

After the shocking finale to the last story, Paula is struggling with a huge decision so now is really not the best time for her to be immersed in an emotional and heart wrenching case involving a missing baby. Especially when it becomes clear that one missing child is not going to be the end of it.  As the case becomes ever more complicated, Paula struggles to cope and yet somehow she must, in order to save lives.

I love these characters – Paula has such a depth to her and is one of the strongest female leads in a series to be found out there in the world of crime fiction currently. Still haunted by the loss of her mother at a young age and living in a world after “The Troubles” she is both one tough cookie and compellingly vulnerable all in one small package. She trips through life, often acting on impulse, yet highly intelligent and insightful. Surrounding her is an eclectic mix of supporting cast – her Father I am particularly fond of – and together they make for a heck of a team.

The Irish setting is well developed – as someone who knows very little about the background to that time, I find it fascinating how Claire McGowan can give you an understanding by letting her characters talk – when past haunts present as it does in a very real way there, it is through the thoughts, feelings and experiences of the people in the pages that you come to learn and almost see it for yourself.

The mystery element of this particular story is clever and compelling – it twists and turns its way to yet another superb finale, leaving Paula with a few more things to face next time yet wrapping up the current case, perhaps surprisingly – who knows? Me I usually beat the author but this is a twisty tale, how will you get on I wonder?

The personal relationships ongoing in this series is also one of the things I love about it. Particularly well developed and intriguing is the relationship Paula has with her Dad, hence why he is one of my favourite characters here. Her romantic life is beautifully complicated and I will admit that a lot of my time reading this was spent yelling at her about what she should be doing. Pfft. Who listens to me? I’m always right you know.

Overall a terrific read. Fast paced when it needs to be, offering moments for reflection and giving a real insight into both the smaller and larger community psyche if you like, I would highly recommend these for crime fiction aficionado’s. There is a lot of it about – seems everyone wants to write a great crime novel – well Ms McGowan manages that just fine. And seemingly with ease.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Thank you to the author and publisher for the review copy.

Sue Jackson has the perfect family but when her teenage daughter Charlotte deliberately steps in front of a bus and ends up in a coma she is forced to face a very dark reality.
Retracing her daughter’s steps she finds a horrifying entry in Charlotte’s diary and is forced to head deep into Charlotte’s private world. In her hunt for evidence, Sue begins to mistrust everyone close to her daughter and she’s forced to look further, into the depths of her own past.

An extremely clever and involving past/present mystery story – absolutely addictive, I practically got paper cuts as I avidly turned the pages, following along with Sue as she begins to uncover the hidden layers of Charlotte’s world.

I’m a huge fan of well constructed psychological stories, where nothing is ever as it seems and this is an extremely good example of that kind of tale. Sue has issues of her own, she frequently has breakdowns, so even as she discovers something twisted going on that may be related to her own past, will she get anyone to believe her? Will YOU the reader believe that there is any more going on here than a teenager letting general life woes get on top of her and making a snap, impulsive decision to end her life..

I loved the characters – I sympathised with Sue utterly as she struggles to keep it together in the aftermath of a heart wrenching event, and the well drawn background of her previous experiences that colour and shape how she reacts is perfectly placed to leave you slightly off kilter and wonder if she isnt, perhaps, just losing her mind. Cleverly done – I say no more, I would not want to inadvertantly spoil it.

Told in present time, with flashbacks fleshing out Sue’s history both as a young woman and her life with her Husband, this is truly terrifying in a lot of ways and encompasses an authentic look at issues involving post traumatic stress – clever, intriguing, beautifully flowing and captivating, this is definitely one to watch.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

 

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Thank you to the author and publisher for the review copy.

The second Kiszka and Kershaw crime thriller.

When masked men brutally stab one of his closest friends to death, Janusz Kiszka – fixer to East London’s Poles – must dig deep into London’s criminal underbelly to track down the killers and deliver justice.

So when I read “Where the Devil Can’t Go” way back when it was published, I loved it and knew that this was a series that I was going to enjoy ongoing and with “Death Can’t Take a Joke” Anya Lipska has just confirmed that first impression for me.

This is gritty crime at its best – with wonderfully drawn characters, already fleshed out well enough in Book One so that you can sink right back into their world with this instalment, realistically violent and with a terrifically constructed and compelling story.

What I loved about this one: The further consolidation of the relationship between our two main protagonists, the fact that it gives a pragmatic and earthy snapshot of the Polish community and, well, Janusz Kiszka. Another book character I would marry in an instant.

The plot flows along at a perfect speed, always exciting, never allowing our characters to become one dimensional, with some wonderful twists and turns that keep you on your toes and keep you reading just one more chapter. Then just one chapter more. Then you wake up two days later with rather a messy house. Well, I did anyway.

Definitely an author to watch out for, I can’t wait to see whats next.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Book One of the Plague Times Trilogy.

Publication Date: March 20th 2014 from Hodder and Staughton/John Murray

Thank you to the author and publisher for the review copy.

It doesn’t look like murder in a city full of death. A pandemic called ‘The Sweats’ is sweeping the globe. London is a city in crisis. Hospitals begin to fill with the dead and dying, but Stevie Flint is convinced that the sudden death of her boyfriend Dr Simon Sharkey was not from natural causes. As roads out of London become gridlocked with people fleeing infection, Stevie’s search for Simon’s killers takes her in the opposite direction, into the depths of the dying city and a race with death.

A brilliantly imaginative mix of mystery and apocalypse this was heart stopping addictive reading that kept me up into the early hours (AGAIN, sigh) with its perfect pacing and wonderfully compelling main protagonist – one Stevie Flint. Add to that some absolutely top notch descriptive prose that keeps you right in the moment, a city that is turning on itself and its occupants and an almost dystopian feel to the ongoing Pandemic and I almost guarantee that this one will leave you with haunted dreams and a slight sense of imbalance.

When Stevie discovers a cryptic note with a set of instructions that lead her to believe Simon was holding on to a secret, she becomes convinced that his death was not from natural causes. And despite the absolutely terrifying situation she is in, with the city dying around her and most people trying desperately to escape, she undertakes a dangerous and uncompromising journey into the heart of Simon’s world determined to track down the truth.

Here is the best thing – Stevie herself is one of those characters that you live with, breathe with and sleep with while you are engrossed in the novel – as real as the person standing next to you, she drags you along in her wake through the dark places and shadowy streets of London, tracking a murderer, discovering that which is hidden and never holding back. She makes impulsive decisions, good decisions,bad decisions,ends up in trouble but doesnt give in. You will be with her every frightening step of the way.

Here is the next best thing – the backdrop to her journey is brilliantly written, superbly described, you will see it all in your head. The supporting characters are well drawn, elusive in their intentions and you won’t know who to trust and may often be surprised by random acts of kindness. Society may fall but there will still be people who care…

And here is the last great thing. It is a trilogy. There are two more novels to come and I for one cannot wait!

Highly Recommended.

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Thank you to the author and publisher for the review copy via netgalley.

Dan and Adam have always been close. In fact, they’ve been closer than Adam could ever guess. And if Dan’s going to get that close again, it will take time. It will take research. It may even take practice. Fortunately, Dan is a very patient person – and Adam trusts him. With his house key. With his secrets. With his wife… But as Dan gets closer, someone is watching. Someone who will stop at nothing to uncover the truth… and seek revenge.

So, I was rather fond of Dan. And any reader who has come before me or comes after me in the reading of this one will probably shriek “What? Are you serious?” because he is a strange one that is absolutely for sure. And not in a good way either. But this is his story and its true I became rather fond of him in a dark kind of way as he carries out his research in order to write his book. A book that will declare once and for all his love for best friend Adam and make him famous.

This story creeps up on you – the relationship between Adam and Dan as seen through Dan’s eyes is strange and almost symbiotic in nature – it will make you shiver. As Dan tests the waters, attempts to become closer to Adam’s wife and to infiltrate every part of his life, others get caught up in the turmoil and it is chilling, absolutely addictive and fascinating reading.

Apart from my rather weird fondness for Dan, I cannot say there are any truly likeable characters in this one but that is the absolute beauty of it. Dan may be odd, he may even be dangerous, but those surrounding him have their own foibles and are not always exactly what they seem.

As a psychological thriller this works extremely well – Dan as a main protagonist carries the story along, it is perfectly paced with some real heartstopping moments and a terrific exciting finale. I enjoyed it very much, it appealed to my darker nature and I will definitely be looking out for more from this author.

For the faint of heart: There is some sexual violence during the telling of the tale.

Recommended for those who love reading about the darker side of human nature.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Many thanks to the author and publisher for the compelling review copy.

Three women have been found brutally murdered in south London, the victims only feet away from help during each sadistic attack. And the killer is getting braver . . .

So, yet another brilliant debut novel due to hit the shelves next year “Never Look Back” introduces us to DI Mike Lockyer and his team as they investigate a series of murders…and a stalker.

Oh how I love when I get right in at the start of a new series, especially a headstart and especially when they are as good as this one. It was genuinely creepy – I have spent the last few days whilst reading it surreptitiously looking over my shoulder, checking out parked cars in case someone is in them and obsessively drawing the curtains in my house as soon as the sky starts to darken…Just in case you understand.

DI Lockyer is fantastic, I completely fell in love with him. Sidekick Jane shows intelligence and depth and offsets him perfectly…together they delve into a mind of darkness and try and figure out how to stop the slaughter- but both have personal lives that can get in the way.

Meanwhile we also follow Sarah, who is becoming increasingly withdrawn from life having received a number of sinister phone calls, and always having a sense of being watched – the police seemingly able to do nothing, she hides away, finding it harder and harder to leave her sanctuary. Could her world and that of the murder victims be about to collide?

Cleverly written, broken down into days, we watch the investigation, Sarah’s increasing paranoia and DI Lockyer’s struggle to separate his emotions from the practical necessities of chasing a killer…and all the while the disturbing atmosphere builds.

Ms Donoghue writes with a clear eye to the ironic, in a smooth and addictive style, all the while adding substance and clarity to her characters as we get to know them. The final resolution is perhaps one of the best ones I have read lately and with a teaser of what is to come at the end of my beautiful review copy, my chronic impatience has just kicked in once more.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

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Release date: 1st April 2014 from Severn House

Thank you to the author and publisher for the review copy via netgalley

Joy Miller, once a famed TV evangelist, retired years before when two tragedies struck her family: the first leading her husband to suicide; the second leaving her son dead and his wife and daughter estranged from her.
She now lives a lonely, reclusive life, until a package arrives in the mail containing graphic photographs of three people she knew long ago – all brutally murdered. When Joy reads the note in the package, she knows immediately who it’s from: a ghost from her past, a dangerous individual who knows far too much about the skeletons in Joy’s closet. Then people start disappearing ..

So a new author to me, I was looking forward to this one, the premise sounded great and I love a good mystery all wrapped up in the past. Joy Miller keeps herself to herself these days having faced tragedy – but someone is not done with her yet and when she receives a strange and sinister package in the mail, her life will take an unexpected turn.

I rather liked Joy as a character – without giving anything away, I can absolutely understand why she keeps herself locked away from life – but there was an intriguing depth there that made me wonder if all was as it appeared.

As a mystery novel this works well – there is enough going on to hold your interest and enough twists along the way to keep you off balance and wonder what the outcome will be. I also liked that for me, it was a fairly short but sweet read, and I was fascinated by the main protagonist.

As a “Buried past” novel I would say it sits somewhere in the middle of the pack – I have read quite a few like this lately and whilst this was not the best of them it was certainly a compelling read and I enjoyed it very much.

Happy Reading Folks!

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Thank you Arcadia!

Catherine Winslow, taking a walk during an early spring thaw, discovers the body of a woman leaning against an apple tree near her house in the Upper Valley of Vermont. From the corpse’s pink parka, Winslow recognizes it as the latest victim of a serial killer, a woman reported missing weeks before during a January blizzard. Once a major reporter for a national newspaper, now a household hints columnist, Catherine is disturbed and galvanized by her discovery and with the help of her neighbor, a forensic psychiatrist, as well as a local detective, starts to research the River Valley murders.

So many years ago I read “Clara’s Heart” and it was an amazing book – made into a very good film starring Whoopi Goldberg which I also enjoyed. Then in the way that happens, I never picked up another novel by the author until now.

Cloudland is a very different kettle of fish – a crime and mystery story – but done with the same lovely style and flow and with a keen eye towards characterisation and ambience. When Catherine discovers a body up on Cloudland – an area where she lives in isolation surrounded as she is by only one or two other households – she finds herself drawn into the search for a serial killer. But all is not as it appears and it is possible that danger is closer to home than she realises.

The most intriguing aspect of this one for me was the setting – Vermont is beautifully described and the community spirit is strong – but as is the way of these things there are a lot of secrets buried beneath the surface. Mr Olshan does a terrific job of giving an underlying sense of unease as we follow Catherine on her journey, learn about her and those around her and discover a heart of darkness.

Do not be mistaken – this is NOT a Serial Killer Thriller – even though there is an aspect of that – this is very much character driven and a tale of human failings. Catherine is a fascinating and compelling character – a lot of the beauty of this one is in her hidden layers, her reality revealed as it is over the course of the book along with the other characters who inhabit her world.

All in all a wonderful novel. A well drawn intriguing mystery alongside some beautiful descriptive prose and sense of place make this a must read.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Published 6th February by Quercus.

Thank you for the review copy via Netgalley.

Ruth Galloway uncovers the bones of what might be a notorious Victorian child murdress and a baby snatcher known as “The Childminder” threatens modern-day Norfolk in the latest irresistible mystery from Elly Griffiths.

Yep irresistible is right. I’ve read all of the Ruth Galloway novels but this is the first one I’ve read since I started the blog and serious reviewing and actually I would say its one of my favourites so far.

Ruth Galloway is a forensic archaeologist, in this instalment she uncovers some bones that she believes may be “Mother Hook” a notorious Victorian child murderess. At the same time she is drawn into a modern day case involving a possibly murdered child and an abduction..

This is a series best read in order – the first being ” The Crossing Places”  – as character development for me is a big part of these books. Having said that, enough information is also available so you could pick up whichever one takes your fancy and have a great reading experience…and you can go backwards because nothing is ever spoilt.

What I love about Elly Griffiths writing is the way she creates such great fictional stories around a fascinating subject – and ALWAYS encourages my interest in the more fact based portions of her tales when it comes to archeology.  I never fail, having read another of Ruth’s adventures, to end up on Google researching various titbits that have arisen to find out more about how it all works. Add to that a great writing style that digs you deep into the atmosphere of the setting, some great characters to follow along with and an always compelling tale and you have a recipe for success.

There are some mythological undertones to these books that give them a slight edge over the rest, an aspect of them that this reader loves – and overall I would have to say this is one of my favourite “comfort” series in that they never let me down.

A great addition to the Ruth Galloway adventures and I look forward very much to the next.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Thank you to the publisher and author for the copy via netgalley.

Steve Mitchell, happily married with a wife and two kids, is in line for a coveted position at Boston’s University Hospital when his world goes awry. His over-reaching ambition causes him to botch a major surgery, and another of his patients mysteriously dies. Steve’s nightmare goes from bad to worse when he learns that the mysterious death was no accident but the act of a sociopath.

There is a reason why this one immediately intrigued me – when I was younger I read a lot of novels by Robin Cook, which were medical thrillers with a twist and I always loved them. Since then I had moved away from that type of story but the synopsis for this one drew me in – because it seemed to mix up the medical thriller with the psychological thriller and of course you all know by now how much I adore a good twisty tale.

I did REALLY enjoy this one. Fast paced, well written, some great characterisation and a wonderful thrill ride, it had everything I was looking for and more. The author juggles several plot strands adeptly, leaving you desperate to find out what was going to happen – as Steve watches his whole life and reputation unravel its scintillating stuff.

The fact that the author is a surgeon is obvious from the descriptive passages and this gave the novel a high level of authenticity which always makes Thrillers of this nature a much better reading experience. There are some lovely twists and turns and it had a terrifically satisfying ending which is always a bonus.

One to look out for in the future. Great debut.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

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Thank you for the review copy via netgalley.

April, 1914. Against his better judgement, Detective Inspector Silas Quinn is attending the premiere of the new motion picture by notorious Austrian film-maker Konrad Waechter. But the glamorous event is interrupted by the piercing screams of a young woman in the street outside. She has been viciously mutilated in a horrific attack which eerily echoes a macabre act of violence in Waechter’s film. 

So the third book featuring Silas Quinn – and once again a dark atmospheric tale with an intriguing premise and a wonderfully beautiful writing style meant I read this pretty much in one sitting – well two if you want to be pedantic – and certainly its my favourite so far.

Along with Detective Sergeant Macadam and Sergeant Inchball, Silas is soon drawn into a shadowy world behind the burgeoning success of cinema – and finds out  how easily appearances can be deceptive..

Some of this will not be for the faint hearted (especially if like me you have a thing about EYES) but its a haunting addictive read that takes you back to another era. Silas Quinn himself is an interesting character and I was pleased to see him “fleshed out” even more in this instalment, as we follow along with him and a great supporting cast. See what I did there?

All in all a great read and I would recommend it for lovers of Crime Fiction with a historical aspect and a taste for modern “noir”.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Thank you to the author and publisher for the advance reading copy via netgalley.

Thomas Jackson McMurtrie is a living legend scorned. Forty years ago, he gave up a promising career as a trial lawyer to become a law professor at the University of Alabama at the request of his mentor. Alabama football Coach, Paul “Bear” Bryant. Now Tom is forced into retirement, betrayed by both a powerful colleague and his own failing health.
Meanwhile, the young family of one of his oldest friends is killed in a tragic road collision. Believing his career is over, Tom refers the case to a brilliant, yet beleaguered, former student, who begins to uncover the truth behind the tragedy, buried in a tangled web of arson, bribery and greed.

It has been a while since I found a great legal thriller to read – I was a huge fan of Steve Martini’s Paul Madriani series until they became way too political and conspiracy theory based, and Grisham became the same although I do peripherally enjoy those still. So when I recently read Nick Stone’s “The Verdict” which was excellent it put me firmly back into the mindset of wanting to read more of this type of novel. So when I came across “The Professor” on netgalley it seemed to be the perfect solution and it was.

Thomas Jackson McMurtrie has been a long term law professor, at the behest of his coach and mentor many years ago. Betrayed and let down by a colleague he is suffering ill health and retires to lick his wounds. When an old friend asks for his help he refers her to Rick Drake, an ex student who has his own problems…Rick believes he has a solid case but as it all starts to fall apart around him he realises he needs help. And there is only one man for the job…

I found this absolutely gripping and fascinating from page one, filled with wonderfully drawn intriguing characters and an engaging and captivating storyline that twists and turns its way to a satisfying conclusion, this is the start to what promises to be one of my favourite legal series. I simply cannot wait to see what is next for team McMurtrie and Drake.

This is a true David versus Goliath tale – up against a firm that will do anything to cover up their complicity in a terrible accident, Rick has his work cut out for him. Some of it is scary stuff – you can easily imagine this sort of thing happening in real life, it has an absolutely authentic feel to it throughout. Without giving too much away I can say that you will never be sure who is going to come out on top – the author keeps you guessing and at times my heart was pounding.

Extremely well written with a beautiful flow to it, this was one of those books that you don’t want to put down until you have finished – and one that your mind keeps drifting back to while you are out in the real world doing all the mundane routine things that keep you away from your books. I loved it and if you are a fan of legal thrillers you will as well.

Highly Recommended.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Thank you to the author and publisher for the copy via netgalley.

A grieving young widow, seeking answers to her husband’s death, becomes entangled in an investigation steeped in the darkest mysteries of Rome.

So my good friend Storm has already reviewed this book for me (you can find her review on her page) and that review along with a couple of other people whispering in my ear made me decide that I had to try this one for myself. And boy was THAT a good decision.

Ok its tagged as Crime and Mystery which it is – but it is also rich with perfectly drawn characters, a beautifully descriptive style and a haunting sense of place. Storm described it as a mix of Criminal Minds, CSI and Fringe which I would absolutely agree with – there are many elements in the mix here, all beautifully woven together to make a wonderful memorable and enthralling tale of mystery.

Again this author assumes the intelligence of the reader and pops us around in time and place in order to end up with an overall view – there are many twists and turns along the way and although as usual for me I had most of it sussed well before the end it was cleverly achieved and beautifully written. Some great characters to follow along with and root for adds to the overall ambience of the storytelling and all in all I thoroughly enjoyed it.

In my quest to find another writer that can beat me with a twist I don’t see coming, to add to the list that so far only has  Tina Seskis and Erin Kelly on it, Donato Carrisi definitely has possibilities! I’m told by a very good reading friend that “The Whisperer” may well do it. We’ll see!

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Thank you to the author and publisher for the review copy.

Pete Fernandez is a mess. He’s on the brink of being fired from his middle-management newspaper job. His fiancée has up and left him. Now, after the sudden death of his father, he’s back in his hometown of Miami, slowly drinking himself into oblivion. But when a co-worker he barely knows asks Pete to locate a missing daughter, Pete finds himself dragged into a tale of murder, drugs, double-crosses and memories bursting from the black heart of the Miami underworld – and, shockingly, his father’s past.

So the first in a new mystery series from Alex Segura and boy, that was a terrific start – mainly because our protagonist, Pete Fernandez is so well drawn so you get right behind him at the start even though he kind of falls through life and has a spectactularly illogical decision making process. In that there is not really a process at all…I loved that because its a bit like me…shall I do that? Oh yes why not. What could POSSIBLY go wrong?

Set in Miami, the city comes to life in the authors hands  – rich and vivid with a definite dark underbelly, it put me in mind of “Miami Vice” a show I used to love which visually had the same feel to it – bright lights and warm nights hiding a less salubrious reality..where danger lurks around every corner.

As Pete traverses the city streets trying to track down the missing Kathy, and runs into all sorts of trouble, the mystery element is well imagined and intriguing. Decent action all the way and a great twisty turny tale that resolves realistically, this was a fascinating and compelling story with great character development and excellent scene setting to keep you involved all the way. I will definitely be reading more in this series.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Thank you to the author for the review copy.

Chase Williams is looking forward to a solitary week off, away from the office, when he is dragged into a strange murder case by his friend, Inspector Angelo Alunni.
Piero Galli has died as a result of a chandelier falling on him and breaking his neck. It looks like an accident, but Alunni is not convinced: so who killed Galli?

After meeting Chase Williams in “Cutting Right to the Chase” I was very much looking forward to reading more of his adventures and this did not disappoint.

In this instalment we find him investigating a strange accidental death which may well actually be murder. Instead of his expected holiday he finds himself embroiled in a family drama  at the behest of a friend.

This is a lovely easy to read and enjoyable “cosy” mystery set in the beautiful surroundings of Italy. Chase is an interesting character to follow and the mystery element is quietly intriguing.

Perfect reading for a winters afternoon I thoroughly enjoyed this one and I look forward to more.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Coming January from Touchstone (US) and Simon & Schuster (UK)

Thank you to the author and publisher for the review copy via Netgalley.

Lana Granger lives a life of lies. She has told so many lies about where she comes from and who she is that the truth is like a cloudy nightmare she can’t quite recall. About to graduate from college and with her trust fund almost tapped out, she takes a job babysitting a troubled boy named Luke. Expelled from schools all over the country, the manipulative young Luke is accustomed to controlling the people in his life. But, in Lana, he may have met his match. Or has Lana met hers?

A fantastic twisty tale, this is Lisa Unger back at the very top of the game when it comes to psychological thriller writing, a stunning look at the human psyche and nature versus nurture all wrapped up in a terrific page turning story.

Lana has a troubled past  – she blocks out a lot of it and is in constant therapy. As she tries to come to terms with herself and what she has suffered, she takes on the role of child minder to Luke – another troubled soul. Lana is at the top of the tree when it comes to manipulation but Luke may well be on another level altogether. As the two of them play a truly twisted game of cat and mouse, hidden secrets begin to emerge.

I know I’ve said it before, but it bears saying again. I adore a clever book.  One that treats the reader with intelligence, allowing that not every little nuance has to be explained, but also managing to incorporate many subtle clues that unlock the  mystery that is Lana and Luke. Multi layered and intense this is truly inventive writing.

I was fascinated by these two characters for the entire book. Lana really is an enigma and Luke is actually quite a scary young boy – the ingenuity of the characterisation means that you are never quite sure where you are with him. With any of the characters in fact. I had a secret adoration for Beck, Lana’s friend, she was certainly someone you would want on your side.

Overall an exceptional novel especially if you are a fan, as I am, of the psychological thriller. I  can hear a few of those who follow my reviews asking “Did Lisa Unger beat you in the twisty tale game?” Well no. I unlocked the secrets using the actual clues the characters themselves give us – but I’m willing to bet that a fair few people will be flummoxed.

None of that is the point though – yes its fun to try and work out what the blinking nora is going on, but in the case of “In The Blood” its all about the human condition. When exactly does troubled become dangerous? And are we born with no way of changing what we become? Captivating and compelling I would highly recommend this.

Happy Reading Folks!

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On the day she was abducted, Annie O’Sullivan, a thirty-two-year-old Realtor, had three goals—sell a house, forget about a recent argument with her mother, and be on time for dinner with her ever-patient boyfriend. The open house is slow, but when her last visitor of the day pulls up in a van as she’s about to leave, Annie thinks it just might be her lucky day after all. 

Not so lucky. Annie is abducted, raped, tortured and held captive for many months. As she talks to her therapist in the aftermath of her ordeal, the full story begins to emerge about what she went through and how she made her escape..

This was heart wrenching compelling stuff…as Annie struggles to put her life back together, constantly on the lookout for the next awful thing, attempting to come to terms with a life in the spotlight, all while trying to help the police find out the identity of her abductor, you will be with her every single step of the way.

She’s a survivor who is barely holding on. As there are more revelations about her time in captivity you begin to realise just how strong she is…this book was ALL about Annie, a very clever utterly character driven tale of horror. The author manages to make it all about her and yet still give it a twist here and a turn there to keep you off balance so you are never sure what is coming next.

The resolution to the crime element of the plot is cleverly realistic despite it seeming highly unlikely (although I was fairly sure where this was going early on, am I not always? I would say that most people will draw in a breath when they realise what actually happened) and again is absolutely character driven…all the peripheral characters in this book are well drawn and play their part in the whole to perfection.

The best part of this book for me though was watching Annie go through her recovery process. Sympathetically handled and done with authenticity, especially when looking at survivor guilt, I was mentally pushing her along every step of the way…the next breath, the next step, the light at the end of the tunnel. Because there always is one.

Superb crime fiction and I can’t wait to read more from this author.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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A middle class woman at her wits’ end.
A struggling migrant worker with few options for survival.
When tensions boil over, who will be the first to snap?
Will it be Theodora, finally breaking under the pressure?
Or Mona, desperate to find a way out?

I do love a psychological thriller and this was a great one – for once I didnt spend the entire novel waiting for a huge twist in the tale or something completely unexpected (although there was plenty of unexpected things along the way!) because I was so immersed in the differing views of these two women on their relationship – it was fascinating how they reacted to each other and to events in the story.

Dora is absolutely full of a sense of her own importance – she takes on the care of her elderly father after the death of her mother, and I really disliked her holier than thou attitude about it all. Great! We love a character who makes us mad. On the other hand she does struggle to get any free time and it is a tough job so you can kind of feel sorry for her.

Enter Mona, a migrant worker hired by Dora’s ex husband to help with the care of Dad. Mona has other reasons for wanting to be in the country – she is super efficient and soon has everything running smoothly. She is also not above helping herself to bits and pieces that don’t belong to her, nor to ingratiating herself with Dora’s son Leo.

Initially these two think that they are helping each other…but slowly yet surely the relationship between the pair falters.

The very clever thing about this novel was looking at each event through two pairs of eyes – neither of them are utterly faultless and both have a way of making things worse through assumption. Mona’s assumption that Dora won’t miss a bit of face cream here and there and Dora’s assumption that Mona is more slave than employee – expected to work all the hours God sends and then some, it is unsurprising that Mona feels she is entitled to something extra. But then she has other things to hide.

The story ebbs and flows in a terrific manner and the sense of place is amazing. I’ve tried not to give too much away on where this tale goes – it really is a journey of discovery. Jealousy, resentment, sheer audacity will take you to the ultimate outcome. And I very much enjoyed every minute of it.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Thank you to RandomHouse Uk Cornerstone for the review copy via netgalley.

When the ones Cross loves are in danger, he will do anything to protect them. If he does anything to protect them, they will die.

It has been a while since I read an Alex Cross novel, or indeed anything from Mr Patterson – but when I saw another Cross novel was available I decided to give it a shot based on my love of “Along Came a Spider” and “Kiss the Girls” both of which I thought were fantastic. I have read others in the series but am aware that I have also missed several. So keep that in mind when reading my review.

I’m going to come at this from two points of view – firstly a purely “read what you love” one. Fans of Mr Patterson will love this. He has upped the ante for Alex and given us a truly horrific bad guy. As far as the “thriller” aspect of it goes, you will not be disappointed. Patterson’s trademark short sharp snappy chapters are here, it moves along at a great pace and if you have enjoyed the others there is nothing here to distress you. You will get involved and have a great time. Then we can look at it like this…

I enjoyed it in a very “popcorn” way which is, I think, the best way to approach the “James Patterson” franchise, whether it be the Alex Cross novels he writes himself or the “joint” novels written by others. You know what you are getting and there is a lot to enjoy here – but you are unlikely to be terribly surprised by it or find it attempts to go out of its comfort zone. Nothing wrong with that at all of course but for me, with the wide range of novels I read, these are never going to be at the top of my pile because the word that comes to mind is “generic”. Perfect for when you just want something you know you will be reasonably fond of but is not going to set your world on fire.

The ending of this one was a little bit “buy my next book” for me as well. Sometimes its blatant! And I guess if you love Alex Cross you were probably going to buy the next one anyway!

So. To sum up. Fun reading, you will always know where you are and if its your bag its your bag.

Happy Reading Folks!

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Marnie Logan often feels like she’s being watched. Nothing she can quite put her finger on — a whisper of breath on the back of her neck, or a shadow in the corner of her eye — and now her life is frozen. Her husband Daniel has been missing for more than a year. Depressed and increasingly desperate, she seeks the help of clinical psychologist Joe O’Loughlin.

So I’m a huge fan of the Joe O’Loughlin books from Michael Robotham so I was very much looking forward to this one (And hoping that Ruiz would be involved so YAY!) and it didnt disappoint.

Marnie has some godawful problems – a loan shark on her tale, a missing husband and a distinct lack of funds are making for a pretty poor existance. Struggling to cope she turns to Joe for help with her depression…and as things develop it becomes apparent that there is more going on in Marnie’s life than initially meets the eye.

One of the strengths of these novels is Mr Robothams ability to write multi layered, psychologically intriguing characters not only with his main protagonists but with those they encounter along the way – even peripheral or secondary characters have a certain depth to them and this makes every story different enough that the series never becomes dull.

Certainly he has managed that here with Marnie, a damaged yet sympathetic woman who has had some major curveballs thrown at her in this game we call life and yet manages to still be standing, albeit rather unsteadily. You will feel for her and want things to start going her way.

The story twists and turns, keeping you on your toes and you will metaphorically cheer when at last Ruiz turns up to keep Joe on the ball and offer some practical support – Joe’s own ongoing battle with Parkinsons disease ( an extremely authentic developing character arc) continues to cause him problems and frankly he could do with the help.

Ok so as usual for me I had it all in my head fairly easily as we went along and I was correct in all my assumptions but still I bow to Mr Robothams superior storytelling skills when it comes to turning things on their head at various points and giving me reason to doubt myself.

All in all if you love these novels you will also love this one – the writing standard is as high as it has ever been and it was a highly enjoyable reading experience once more. Whilst there are references to previous events, you could easily pick this one up and read it as a standalone – although personally, as ever, I would say start at the beginning if you are new to this author – that would be “The Suspect”.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

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Thank you to the author for the review copy.

Kicked onto the scrapheap by the local tyre factory in Stoke, Potter decides to use his redundancy pay to set up as a private investigator. Opportunity comes knocking in the form of flame-haired femme fatale Moonchild Burgess, a victim of blackmail, and she is soon followed into Potter’s office by a concerned father wondering just what his suddenly affluent teenage daughter is getting up to …

So, having adored “The Bank Manager and The Bum” I was looking forward to diving into another novella from Mr Sant and once again I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The aptly named considering the setting Potter, starts up his own private investigation agency and is soon immersed in a case of blackmail, a missing dog and a teenager who may or may not be in trouble – as the tale unfolds, told by the inept yet loveable Mr Potter, you will have a lot of fun. Mr Sant writes an extremely readable tale, with a witty edge and an intelligent style . The side characters were terrific (his landlord, Dennis the chip shop owner particularly for me) and the mystery is clever and has an extremely satisfying outcome.

I look forward to more stories of Potter. I have one complaint. I’m positive Mr Sant knows EXACTLY what I’m about to say right now – write a full length novel. Do it. The stories are terrific, this one and the last one I read, but more – I want more! The characters created by this author are positively BURSTING with the need to tell us more – go on…you know you want to!

Recommended for fans of lovely tall tales backed up by a terrific sense of humour and lack of need to feel self important.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Thank you to the author for the review copy.

What connects a contract killer, international terrorists and a single mother from Brighton?

Detective Sergeant Rob Steele is Sussex Police’s only Firearms Positioning Forensics expert, a unusual and highly sought after skill. Rarely does he have to use those skills in Brighton, but when a body is found bearing all the hallmarks of a professional execution, Steele is brought in to run the investigation with his team, Karl, a small but bullish Scotsman with a genius for detective work, and Nat, a sharp, street-smart detective with complicated feelings for the widowed Steele.

Beautifully paced and wonderfully compelling, this is my first read of this author and I found it to be thoroughly enjoyable – the characters pop off the page and Mr Grzegorzek writes with an ironic humour that had me often smiling and always intrigued.

I liked Rob Steele as a protagonist – especially as his “job” was unique therefore the read was something slightly out of the ordinary for crime fiction, like a breath of fresh air. The supporting characters are great – I hope that there will be more from them, it certainly felt like they had a lot more to say!

The story is punchy, twisty and turny, just the way I like them. Kind of like the tv show “Spooks” on acid, you were never sure what little nugget of information was going to turn up next and switch things around. Clever writing. I like it.

I look forward to whatever comes next. Recommended for lovers of crime fiction who would like a slightly different but entertaining take on the genre.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Thank you kindly to Mr Black and the publisher for the review copy.

An exciting anthology of crime fiction, featuring Edinburgh investigator Gus Dury. 

I love Gus Dury. Some of my favourite reading experiences of the past came along with him and until I started reading this anthology I didnt realise quite how much I had missed that series..so I was one happy reader to find a whole bunch of tales in short story format – another of my favourite things.

Gus finds himself in varying situations here, all written with the usual wit and style that Mr Black brings to his crime fiction – it may be gritty “noir” in an almost perfect form but it is also compelling, authentic and addictive. Gus Dury as anti-hero is one of the best characters to be found in fiction – his absolute reluctance to get involved in anything followed by his absolute conviction in following it through once he DOES get sucked in, makes for some brilliant storytelling.

My favourite tales from this book? The first: Last Orders and also London Calling. But every one is a golden nugget of reading pleasure. I’m tempted to go back and re-read all the previous adventures. Enjoy!

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Thank you to the author, publisher and netgalley for the review copy.

Outside the local women’s health clinic, the Reverend Jimmy Aldridge waving his protest sign is a familiar sight. But that changes early one morning when someone shoots the beloved Reverend Jimmy dead. Sheriff Shelby Mitchell knows the preacher’s murder will shock the good people of Jackson—and the pressure to find the killer is immediate and intense, which is why Shelby calls in detective Darla Cavannah.

So I love getting in at the start of a new series..here we meet Darla Cavannah, who has taken leave from the Sherrif’s department after the death of her husband. Talked into coming back to take on the case of the Reverend Jimmy, she is one to keep her head whilst all around her are losing theirs…

A clever little mystery this, with some emotive subjects at its heart, which are handled well. Whilst I found it fairly easy to work out what was going on, I found the characters utterly amusing and compelling and this made it a fun read. Darla’s partner on the case is an Elvis impersonator – yes you heard me – and he also has some very clear idea’s about who they should be chasing. Sheriff Shelby is one cool dude and very persuasive. Then you have clinic doctor Stephen Nicoletti, a man who Darla is drawn to..but is he guilty or innocent?

Overall a great start and one that will ensure I read other books in the series. Slight downsides? The “romance” between Darla and Stephen is slightly cliched and a little rushed perhaps – but other than that an involving and engaging read, recommended for lovers of mystery fiction.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Thank you to the author and publisher for the review copy via netgalley.

It starts with the death of a teenage runaway, killed when she leaps from a motorway bridge into the speeding traffic below. When a connection is made to three other missing girls, Greater Manchester Police’s Counter Terrorism Unit are called in. DC Iona Khan investigates, little realizing that she is now in the sights of a sinister figure.

This is the second novel in the Iona Khan series from Chris Simms but the first one I have read – this did not affect my enjoyment of this one but I believe I may have missed out on some backstory so would recommend that you read “Scratch Deeper” first if you have not.

In this instalment, Iona is drawn into a case concerning the seedy world of sex trafficking after a second hand laptop is found to contain information on girls who may have fallen prey to this…with danger lurking around every corner this will take her to a dark place that she may not emerge from unscathed..

The thing I loved about this one was Iona herself…determined to succeed within a police force that often, it has to be said, judges her based solely on her background, she is an intriguing character with great depth and sense of purpose.

The story is captivating and well written, it kept me turning the pages well into the night – and the disturbing subject matter is handled in a realistic style. There is an authentic atmosphere to this one and it gets you thinking, as all really good Crime fiction should.

Great pacing, great writing and a fascinating storyline all add up to a great reading experience.

All in all a great Crime thriller and certainly one that has made me want to track down the other novel in this series – and the DI Spicer books which sound equally compelling.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Coming 5th December (ebook) and 2014 (paperback) from Sphere

Thank you to the author and publisher for the much anticipated review copy.

No. 23 has a secret. In this gloomy, bedsit-riddled South London wreck, lorded over by a lecherous landlord, a horrifying collection quietly waits to be discovered. Yet all six residents have something to hide.

Impressive. Yes ok, this is crime fiction. There is a mystery and things to discover here, but for me this was mostly a character driven novel – and a rather addictive one at that.

Within the walls of number 23, an eclectic cast of characters hang their hats – all hiding out from the world for one reason or another and all incredibly well drawn, I was immediately fascinated by every one of them.

From the very beginning Alex Marwood hooks you. Cher, teenage runaway, is interviewed at the police station, giving her statement about a recent gruesome discovery – then we are thrown back in time to start meeting the people involved…the residents of No 23. Knowing that doom is approaching for at least one, this is a book you may shout at. “No”. “Don’t do that”. “RUN RUN!”…and yet you are never entirely sure whether you are directing your advice at the right people..clever. Love it.

Putting that side of it away for a moment – the more frightening part if you like – you can also look at this story as a soundbite from life. Cher, teenager, thief, but also someone you would want on your side. Collette, hiding from danger not realising that she faces far worse in her chosen sanctuary, Vesta, pensioner, is mother and confidante to all. Then you have a handome asylum seeker Hossein, the lonely Thomas and the musically minded Gerard, all watched over by the repugnant landlord Preece. Different views, different lives, all tied together by their mutual living space, you could easily read this as a cautionary tale of the ups and downs of life…and somewhere in that marvellous mix a killer lurks…hiding in plain sight.

From start to finish this is a terrific page turner, a look at the dark heart that lurks in us all and a compelling, often emotional, always refreshing tale of humanity.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

 

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For Zachary Taylor it’s about to get personal…

CLOSURE sees a detective who can’t let go of the past or the part he played in the murder of his old DCI. Investigating the brutal rape and murder of a young woman, whose death pulls the past into the here and now…

I love crime fiction. I especially love this particular version of crime fiction – the type that without Twitter, and the wonders of self publishing, you might never get to read…

For a start we have a protagonist that is not particularly bogged down in excessive baggage – yes this one thing haunts him but apart from that he is refreshingly normal. Then we have a story that twists and turns its way to an excellent conclusion and you are pretty sorted.

What else do we need? Ah yes, a bad guy. The Yin to Taylor’s Yang. James Black is cleverly obnoxious. Hurray! And don’t you just hate “smug”. It gives you plenty of reasons to cheer for Zachary as he attempts to bring some form of Justice to the proceedings.

Well paced, great writing, often brutal, yet grounded in reality, this was a terrific read. I’m hoping there is more to come.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

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Coming 7th November from Headline.

Thank you to the author and  publisher for the unexpected but wonderful surprise of a copy of this book for review. Thanks Mr Postman!

Primavera Blackstone has found a hard-earned contentment in a small Spanish village by the sea. A fiercely protective single mother, she doesn’t appreciate an offer of marriage. Nor does she welcome the arrival of a blast from her murky Scottish past, retired cop Ricky Ross, now a private detective and working for Jack Weighley, millionaire owner of a budget airline. Jack is a powerful, persuasive man with deep pockets, someone you don’t say ‘no’ to without considering the consequences. So Primavera teams up with Ricky to investigate a series of mystery assaults on Jack’s aircraft.

So another wonderful novel from Mr Jardine – who provides me always with that wonderful thing called comfort reading. You can pick up one of his books, be it from the Skinner series (which I am slightly behind on – MUST catch up Liz!) or the two incarnations of the Blackstone series and be sure to get an intriguing and involving read, always of a high standard and with characters that are immediately familiar..

So we come to another outing for Primavera, in this case getting involved with all sorts of shenanigans including tangling with the Spanish special branch, investigating some serious cases of vandalism and trying to work out why someone feels the need to blow Mr Ross up in his car – and as usual she does it all with flair. And a wry eye to the ironic.

As always I loved the backdrop and scene setting here – I feel now like I would like to move to Spain – the body count aside, it seems like a rather wonderful life.

This is easy and engaging reading with clever plot development and intriguing twists and turns along the way – perhaps not as in depth as the Skinner series, these are more suited to crime lovers who prefer a more sedate and light yet still as compelling reading experience. (Me, I’ll take both!)

One note: These books definitely benefit from being read in order – for Primavera’s first solo outing see “InHuman Remains”.

Recommended for Crime Fiction Lovers everywhere.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Thank you to the author and publisher for the review copy – much appreciated as it had been on my wishlist for a while.

DI Ellen Kelly is at the top of her game – at least she was, until she took the law into her own hands and confronted her husband’s killer. Now she’s back at work, leading the investigation into the missing child. Her superiors are watching her; the distraught family is depending on her. Ellen has a lot to prove. And she knows it.

So. Crime Fiction. An overcrowded, highly popular genre – these days if you are going to publish a novel of this type you need a character, be they part of a series or just a one off, that the reader can get invested in, care about and want to follow along. You also need a darn good story, some secondary characters that add to the whole and a tale that flows along at a readable and effective pace. This book has every one of those things…

Lets start with DI Ellen Kelly. She is traumatised, flawed, yet effective and independant – she gets up your nose then touches your heart pretty much as she does in the story to the people around her. Add in a boss that has seemingly lost the plot, an ongoing dispute with the family Liaison officer and a family that is keeping secrets and you have all the elements of a top notch read.

The mystery aspect of the novel is terrific and will keep you guessing – plenty of red herrings, twists and turns and compelling suspects will have you on your toes – the pace is perfect with a good mix of character building mixed in with advancement of the investigation and sat right at the heart of it a relationship I loved…

My favourite part of this book was the antagonism between Ellen and FLO Abby. Despite their differences, despite the clashing of opinion, the arguments, the absolute confidence each of them has that they are right you sense almost immediately that there is a friendship and mutual respect there that is just waiting to happen…if only they could get over themselves.  Wonderful – rather than the cliche of a possible love interest (will they won’t they get together) you get the intrigue of a…well, will they won’t they become friends. Perfect. Loved it.

All in all a terrific crime and mystery novel and I can hardly wait to see what is next for DI Kelly. And the rest of them..

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Thank you to the author, publisher and netgalley for the review copy.

Destroyed by fire years ago, the infamous Philadelphia State Hospital was a warehouse for the criminally insane.
But one man never left.
A bizarre killer is at work in darkest Philadelphia and Detectives Kevin Byrne and Jessica Balzano must stop him. But first they must find him ….

Now I have been in from the start of the Balzano and Byrne stories so I was looking forward to this one and was very excited to get a copy.  As usual I was in no way disappointed. Richard Montanari has a very distinct voice in the writing world and has become over the years a master of the craft – this particular instalment has become one of my favourites (my absolute still being “The Skin Gods” – Book 2 of the series) due to the complex and very intense storyline.

Jessica is investigating a cold case which very quickly becomes a hot potato – with Kevin on board they find themselves chasing a very dangerous man…and will have to unravel a mystery with its roots in the past.

I loved the flow of this one – snapshots of age old events give clues to what is happening in the present and the plot twists and turns in typical Montanari style until you are not sure if you are coming or going…and the ultimate resolution was one of the best so far.

Ok, I can see why some readers who are also mental health professionals have been a bit down on this one – some of the visuals if you like on asylums and what goes on in them (at least in this fictional world) are often disturbing. However the key word here is “fictional”. This is a story, dramatic license is allowed and indeed required to make a compelling tale – it is in no way implied that any of this is fact.

It is disconcerting and frightening crime fiction. If you want rainbows and kittens this is not the book for you, however if you love crime fiction with bite and have not yet delved into this world then I would recommend them – The Rosary Girls would be where to start.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

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When the body of a missing schoolgirl is found buried in the Dublin Mountains, her hands clasped together in prayer, two red ribbons in her hair, the hunt for her killer reaches epic proportion with the discovery of a second girl’s body 24 hours later.

 

First of all, this is how I love my crime fiction. Great story, complicated without trying to be TOO clever, one that gives your brain a work out and has terrific characters, all of which, even the minor ones, bring something to the story. And that in a nutshell is Red Ribbons.

Whilst it is clearly an introduction for the criminal psychologist, Kate Pearson, and what a great character she is – Louise Phillips also gives us Ellie Brady. Ellie, having been locked up in a mental institution since she murdered her daughter, may hold the key to the whole thing – and her story as it unfolds and as you learn of her pain is utterly compelling. I’ll leave that there – Ellie’s story is hers, no spoilers here.

As the police, and particularly the rather brusque but seemingly lovely O’Connor attempt to track a serial killer, Kate does her level best to send them down the right path. Highly professional, dedicated to her job, Kate often therefore takes other things for granted. Hey we all know that one right? It gives her a dash of realism – she is flawed yes, and highly readable. I’m very pleased that we are going to meet her again.

The story twists and turns its way to an exciting and satisfying conclusion…all in all a most terrific read. The Doll’s House sits on my shelf. I’m quite eager to get to it. Sorry though Kate Pearson, I have to find out what Inspector Lynley is up to first – but soon!

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Peg always felt a little blurred, a little lacking in definition. Her mother died when she was six, her father simply disappeared, and she was brought up by her grandparents and her obese, bedridden aunt. But, despite all this, she never developed the habit of asking questions…..

 

But perhaps she should have done…or not! Anyway I muchly enjoyed this novel, a total indulgence, one I found hard to put down and after I had finished I felt a little like I had run a marathon…

Why? Well mostly down to the characters. I didnt like hardly ANY of them. Isnt that terrific? Yes it is because they are so well written. I’m not entirely convinced that Ms Crouch WANTS people to like them. In fact the only one I loved was the one that peripherally I was probably supposed to be suspicious of. No. Not saying. But anyway, we have Peg, with her never ending passive stance,  tempered by  Loz who knows it all and never shuts up. Then you have Grandma “Doll”, frail but full of her own importance and Auntie Jean who can’t get out of bed due to her MASSIVE bulk and can talk around a subject and leave your head spinning like no other…throw them all together with the mystery of what exactly happened to Peg’s father, and why she has no memory of her early years and you have a corker of a story.

Information is drip fed to you in short little bits and bobs as we watch Peg slowly but surely start to realise that everything is not as clear cut as it appears…everyone is hiding secrets and no-one wants to tell the truth..the blame game is played to perfection and you are never sure if what you are hearing can be relied upon. Blimey though I wanted to hit her over the head with a frying pan upon occasion – so ridiculously fond was she of hiding in the corner from the actual facts that were emerging..

Anyway, cleverly done, paced perfectly, no downturn in the quality at any point made this one of my favourite recent reads – hey I was curled up under the duvet with a torch at 3am this morning (so the children didnt see my light on and decide it was time to get up!) so that probably tells you all you need to know. Now..I’m sure Ms Crouch has written some others. Better go find them then….

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Thank you to the author for the copy of this book to review.

 

Fraser Grant was a kidnapper, a vile, murdering sociopath. Now he’s dead. Murdered in his own home, the women of Sydney can breathe easy again. All but one. His final victim is still missing — chained up, running out of time, and awaiting a captor who will never return.

 

An interesting premise this one – that looks at the possibility of cellular memory. Before it is discovered that Fraser is a serial killer, his heart is transplanted into Eva Matthews who starts to have strange dreams…could she hold the key to discovering Fraser’s final victim before its too late?

I really enjoyed the story, it was something a little different from a standard crime thriller. I especially liked the team of Cooper and Quinn – Cooper due to leave the force but staying to help find the victim and Quinn, his new but seemingly temporary partner, eager and with a great deal of good sense about him. Eva is also an intriguing character – initially dismissing the idea that her new heart would come with something extra, still she can’t help but wonder.

You have your standard crime thriller fayre as Cooper and Quinn track the killer in the usual way, with the added extra of Eva’s experiences and the ongoing mystery of whether such a thing as cellular memory could exist…

Well written, a good flowing story and a genuinely intriguing phenomena it will hold your interest and surprise you at times. Without the addition of the cellular memory storyline this might have been fairly generic with not much to add to the overall crime fiction stable but as it stands, pretty darn good.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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THE LIE WAS JUST THE BEGINNING . . .
Marion Anderson lives the perfect life.
She has a beautiful home, a handsome and loving husband, and an intelligent and caring son.
But as easily as perfect lives are built, they can also be demolished. When tragedy strikes at the heart of her family, Marion finds herself in the middle of a nightmare, with no sign of waking-up.

 

As anyone who follows my reviews knows, I do love a good twisty tale and this one looked as if it might fit the bill, as indeed it did.

When tragedy strikes at the heart of Marion’s world you would have thought that there was nothing worse that could happen to her – in some ways you would be right but as her life disintigrates around her, and she falls ever deeper into a nightmare beyond imagination, you would also be wrong..

One of my favourite things about this book was character development. I really wasnt that fond of Marion to start with, whilst at the same time feeling inordinately sorry for her – her emphasis on “home” a theme running throughout the novel..not only hers but those of other people – sometimes seemed to border on the obsessive. And yet, as she realises just how much of the life she has always known has gone, she develops a much harder “edge”, loses her doormat status and becomes ever stronger…

Her Husband Rob is an amazingly well drawn character and possibly one you will immediately loathe from the very first sentence that is written about him (as was the case for me) and once again he goes through some cleverly written and subtle changes througout the story. The peripheral characters also – you are never sure where they will ultimately fit into the “whole” and this makes it an intriguing and compelling read.

Lots of twists and turns along the way hold your attention and a highly satisfying ending to the whole thing means this is well worth the time. Yes I did see it coming, don’t I always? But not everyone will and it does not matter anyway – at its heart this is a story of love, family, loss and betrayal all tied up in a beautifully twisty tale of mayhem.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for the opportunity to review this book.

 

When seven-year-old Lucy Gibson disappears into thin air at the local funfair, Chief Superintendent Lambert, along with DS Bert Hook and DS Ruth David have a race against time to discover who took the young girl – and to prevent more children from going missing before it’s too late . . .

 

First things first – this book is the latest of a series but it is the first Lambert and Hook mystery that I have read. I can say for certain that it won’t be the last – this was an old school flavoured murder mystery, with a gentle yet resourceful protagonist at its heart. Beautifully yet simply written it was a “curl up under the duvet and leave the world behind” read.

I read a lot of crime fiction and there were a few things about this particular example that I loved. The story flow was mellow yet captivating and the characterisation was outstanding – whether this is because the author now knows his “people” well or whether it has always been that way is something I am looking forward to discovering. I particularly liked Lambert – despite his position on the team he determinedly follows the clues himself and gets right into the action. A true detective…

Another thing I loved about it was the presentation of the clues and the suspect pool within the story – each one well presented and well drawn with all the reasons why they may or may not have reason to commit the crime, you can attempt to work out the mystery right alongside Lambert and Hook. Clever and highly enjoyable. The resolution does not disappoint and feels exactly right.

A perfect book to curl up with on a cold winter’s night I would highly recommend this series to lovers of Christie style mysteries with a modern twist. A little research tells me that “Murder at the Nineteenth” is the first of the series- however you can easily pick this one up and read it as a standalone story with no problem whatsoever.

 

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Thank you kindly to Curiosity Quills for offering me this book for review.

 

Wealthy Businessman Dies in Car Crash … BLACK WIDOW SUSPECTED!

 

To escape headlines such as the above, Sarah Palmer moves back to her home, Alaska, to grieve and to carry on her late husbands  work. It seems as if there is no escape however as she starts to receive strange phone calls and cards in the post. Meanwhile, Steven Quaid is investigating the murders of local women…all of whom bear a resemblance to Sarah.

For a start I can tell you that this book does exactly what it says on the cover. You will find Murder, Madness AND love within its pages, wrapped up in a neat little mystery package. As a debut novel I thought it was terrific – especially with the characterisation and the way Yolanda Renee links everything together without ever giving so much away that it will be obvious whats going on..

Sarah was a lovely character, still haunted by the death of her husband, and facing prejudice initially from Steven, who in a rush to judgement is none too kind, she is a strong and intriguing protagonist. The mystery element is strong and compelling and the writing style intelligent yet easily flowing.

When I look at the crime and mystery genre overall, I would call this above average but not yet at the top of the pile…there is potential here though for Yolanda Renee to head on upwards. It wasnt one of those debut novels where you felt like the author had already been writing for a lifetime, but it was definitely one where you knew there were better things to come.

Overall extremely enjoyable, and if you are a fan of this kind of tale you will probably find this a great read.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Thank you kindly to the publisher and to Claire Mcgowan for the unexpected pleasure of a copy of this book to review.

 

Not everyone who’s missing is lost
When two teenage girls go missing along the Irish border, forensic psychologist Paula Maguire has to return to the hometown she left years before. Swirling with rumour and secrets, the town is gripped by fear of a serial killer. But the truth could be even darker.

This is the second novel from Claire McGowan (I have not yet read “The Fall” although it is on my Kindle) and the first in a new series featuring Forensic Psychologist Paula Maguire. In this the first instalment, she reluctantly returns to her hometown to assist in the investigation of two missing teenage girls – her job, to profile the girls, find connections and help point the investigation in the right direction. Paula however, as we discover early on, is very much her own woman and you are unlikely to find her behind a desk if she feels her skills are better served elsewhere. This immediately puts you right on her side. After all, surely getting a child back alive is far more important ultimately than any future prosecution. Well so you would think…

The crime fiction genre is very overcrowded these days. To be able to write something intriguing enough to hold the interest of a reader who has seen it all several times over takes a certain skill…and the further I headed into this story the more I realised that Ms McGowan does indeed have this skill…in spades. Ok so you are not going to find anything unique – it really has all been done before one way or another in this particular field, but that does not matter one iota if the next book you pick up immediately puts you “on the scene” and holds you there until the final page. This one did just that…

Set against the backdrop of Northern Ireland, in the aftermath of “The Troubles” and with a clear and concise sense of where it is going, I would have to agree with Ken Bruen’s assessment that Claire might well be Ireland’s answer to Ruth Rendell. There is a certain flair for the dramatic here, an absolute psychological darkness, that is also very grounded in reality. Everything Paula discovers seems to lead her back to a  very dark time in her hometown’s history – and that history is well imagined and it seems, factually based despite the fictional setting. Paula herself has a very good reason for wanting to find The Lost even if it seems as if they do not want to be found…and her very real hopes and fears are what makes this book a cut above the average. Quite a large cut…

So, with a main character you want to get behind, what about the rest. Its all just as good. The story moves along apace and keeps you wanting more – the supporting cast of characters are brilliantly written and important to the whole – and best of all the end will make you want more. I am very much looking forward to finding out what happens to Paula et al in the next book…

Some of it is hard to read for the best of reasons and may bring a tear to your eye – I have a far better understanding of what freedom of choice means and what can happen when that freedom is taken away – apart from that I say no more..spoiler free to the ninth degree!

Intelligent pacy writing, a definitive knowledge of what she is talking about and an ability to wrap it all up in a terrifically compelling tale means that Claire McGowan is one to watch in the field of Crime Fiction. You heard it here first. (Ok you probably didnt  but give me my moment to be smug!)

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Thank you to the author, publisher and netgalley for the copy of this novel.

 

A young woman walks into the frozen fjords of Iceland, never to be seen again. But Matthildur leaves in her wake rumours of lies, betrayal and revenge.

Decades later, somewhere in the same wilderness, Detective Erlendur is on the hunt. He is looking for Matthildur but also for a long-lost brother, whose disappearance in a snow-storm when they were children has coloured his entire life. He is looking for answers.

 

Right so I have come in at the end of this one so to speak! I was hunting around for books to try to expand my knowledge and experience of Nordic Fiction and this one sounded highly intriguing – not realising at the time that this was the finale to a long and much loved series, it made not one iota of difference to my enjoyment of this book and I will be heading back to read previous Erlendur tales as soon as time allows.

 

It is a haunting story – the setting is wonderfully enigmatic if a setting could be described as such – and the journey that Detective Erlendur takes is a compelling one. A ghostly aura surrounds the fjords as he treks onwards and upwards in an effort to discover the truth – about Matthildur and also what happened on that long ago day that his brother was lost….

Having not read any of this authors previous works, I have to say that if this is the standard of all his novels then I am in for a treat indeed. I’m not sure of course if the story involving his brother has been an ongoing part of his background, and in order to remain spoiler free I will not be saying much more, but I was entrhalled and involved in this story from the outset and it kept me turning pages long into the night..

If you are a lover of this type of fiction you will adore this. I did. Very much looking forward to catching up…

 

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Because I loved “Gone Girl” and yet was not that enamoured of “Dark Places” I had been putting off getting around to Gillian Flynn’s debut novel – so thank you to Erin Kelly for giving me the push…

Camille Preaker returns to her hometown on behalf of the newspaper she works for,  to cover the murder of one child and the disappearance of another. As she becomes embedded once more into the places of her childhood some dark truths begin to emerge…

I really am in two minds about this one – there is no doubt whatsoever that it is brilliantly written – and its not often that you get a single novel that has so many perfectly drawn, haunted characters. And I would imagine that critics (by critics I mean those people that are paid to read and review novels for some kind of media outlet) loved it for the most part. I loved it for the most part….

Certainly it was compelling – the subject matter was terrifying, fascinating and complex and Ms Flynn creates a shadowy atmosphere that gives you a feeling of unease throughout. The way she uses a sense of place to put you right in the story is dazzling – here we have a most terrific writer indeed.

So you would think I would be putting this on my list of top reads. And yet, no, not quite. Whilst the matter of mental illness was obviously well researched and gave the whole story a depth that a standard mystery thriller would have lacked, I felt in places it was overdone. Thats not to say its not accurate – I would imagine without any actual medical knowledge that it is – but it seemed as if everyone who lived in that place suffered some form of it. There was not, as far as I found, a single character who was in any way normal, with the possible exception of the town’s Police Chief, a man we find out very little about. For me this made it less authentic than it could have been – and sometimes removed me from the tale. I think you need some yin and yang personally….

Still, its a 4* review for me because despite having said all that I cannot fault the writing or the flow. And the resolution will surprise the majority of readers I would imagine. The fact that I knew exactly where it was going quite early on is neither here nor there when it comes to my recommendation. If you love a great story, with an intriguing mystery and prefer that they are brilliantly written without cliche then you will love this. And you will never look at teeth in the same way again…

 

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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So this book had been on my wishlist,  it finally got put into my latest book budget batch – and before I start the review I have to say I chose to go for the print copy rather than the Kindle copy because its got a terrific eye catching cover. Looks great in real life! Kudos to the designer. Sometimes I think that it is becoming a lost art what with technology allowing instant gratification of ebook downloads these days so I’m always on the look out for good ones for my shelf! Anyway apologies to Ms Forbes as I digress….

 

Cass and her Husband Dan live a quiet life in the country…One day they gain a new neighbour, the glamorous Ellie, arriving to write her new novel in the peace of the rural setting. At first Cass is pleased to welcome Ellie into their midst but a series of events leads her to  start feeling disconnected from her life…and a little scared…but she can’t pinpoint exactly why….

 

Very much a character driven novel, mostly seen through the eyes of Cass herself, this is a beautiful and brilliantly written example of a psychological thriller, a terrific twisty tale and a completely captivating look at village life to boot. Cass is both amazingly complex and deceptively simple – the author has given her a true voice…and it almost casts a spell over you as you read. Never quite sure whether she is reading too much into things or whether something really is afoot, it will keep you deliciously off balance throughout the story….

 

A snapshot of village life, the setting is almost a character in itself. Village gossip abounds…the supporting cast can almost be imagined as being in the midst of a rather long running game of chinese whispers…but who is saying what and why? More to the point who is HEARING what and why…cleverly achieved. Despite the fact that the majority of the novel is seen through the eyes of a single character it doesnt read that way…it appears as if they are all talking. And therein lies the magic of the story and the charm of the reading experience for me.

Very enjoyable, a high standard of writing and  lovely prose make this a must read for fans of this type of tale and indeed fans of intriguing storytelling in any genre.

You can follow Elizabeth Forbes on Twitter here. https://twitter.com/lizzieforbes

You will be able to hear from the author in an article I am putting together for the blog coming soon. Don’t miss that!

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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First of all thank you so much for the unexpected pleasure of an advanced copy of this novel through my door one day. A bookworms dream…

 

When I started reading this terrific story , I had two thoughts – firstly I realised that it was a sequel to Gods of Gotham, a book I have had in my peripheral vision for a while but had yet to get around to – and secondly that nothing in the world was going to stop me reading this now, even though my pedantic side would usually have forced me to read Book One in advance. Certainly though I will have to get a copy of “Gods” as soon as possible because now I REALLY want to read it. Seven for a Secret is absolutely fine to read as a standalone book and there are no spoilers for book one but enough information to give you background.

 

So this instalment sees the return of Timothy and Valentine Wilde and another case that will find them investigating the dark heart of New York. As a member of the newly formed Police Force, Timothy gets drawn into the predicament of one Lucy Adams, who’s family has disappeared and this leads him to the heart of a mystery involving Slave catchers and their human trade.

 

I loved the flowing and old school prose in this book…shooting you straight into the heart of the story, with a terrific historic feel and a genuine sense of authenticity you are soon immersed into the ongoing events right along with Timothy. A terrific character, he is bound and determined to save Lucy’s loved ones despite having to step on political toes and finding himself in all kinds of danger. I particularly liked Valentine as a character – I’m looking forward to going back in time (even further!) to see what he was like in the first novel.  Both of the brothers in fact…

 

The mystery element is superbly done. I genuinely had no idea what was going on a lot of the time – Seven for a Secret (never to be told) is a perfect title. Lucy may not be revealing everything, and corruption abounds. The “Blackbirders” are a frightening set indeed…kidnapping black people from the North and selling them into slavery down South…Timothy will need all his wits about him. Various supporting characters make up the whole and it is a page turner of the highest order.

 

Overall, beautiful writing, a wonderful story, a piece of History right there on the page and as soon as I have a minute my local bookshop will find me on their doorstep demanding a copy of “Gods of Gotham”. And I wait with my usual problem of chronic impatience to see what Ms Faye brings us next….

 

 

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Thank  you to the author and publisher for the copy of this book via netgalley.

 

Cecily, Amelia and Hilary are best friends…Hilary was attacked one fateful day during their youth and the others could do nothing to stop it – this bonds them beyond the normal ties of friendship. Jump forward in time and Hilary still has issues…and Cecily is now an assistant DA.  When Amelia comes across a man with a memorable tattoo the girls have a chance for Justice…but with little interest from the powers that be its up to them to find it for themselves…

 

This novel went off in a direction I wasnt quite expecting from reading the synopsis – that made it slightly more than your average crime mystery –  but the best part of this book for me was the relationship the author has created between these three friends. Each affected in different ways by the trauma of that long ago day…they are all well drawn with hidden depths and emotions that you begin to learn more about as the book progresses. Extremely realistic, even down to allowing Cecily to feel quite annoyed with Hilary’s complete inability to “fix” herself, this made for an interesting look at those relationships that we form for ourselves outside the familial one.

I don’t want to give too much away – the mystery element is also very good – more in the “will she won’t she how far will she go” kind of way  – it was more a character driven novel than anything. As Cecily moves forward in her quest I found her to be more and more intriguing and it held my interest for that reason more than for any kind of thrill aspect. And thats just as good!

One slight downside was I felt that Cecily’s “abilities” were not really required to make this a great novel. That aside this was a great read and I will certainly look forward to more from this author.

 

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Thank you to the author and publisher for the copy of this book via netgalley.

 

I do love a good mystery story and this was certainly that – add in the fact that its set in my very own stomping grounds and it made for a terrific read.

 

Alex Duggins has moved back to the sleepy town of Folly-on-Weir in the Cotswolds due to suffering a tragedy, but after stumbling over a murder victim in the countryside she sets off a chain of events that will put her life in very real danger. With its roots set firmly in the past, Alex must uncover the facts in order to understand why someone wants her out of the way..but just who can she trust?

 

I very much enjoyed this – it had a touch of the old school about it, those gentle rambling mysteries that came from Agatha Christie and Victoria Holt in my youth and are now coming from a whole new generation of crime writers…but with a modern twist. I love that Alex is not in any way affiliated with the police, nor does she do a job that would normally bring her into contact with them or give her any reason for them to consult her. She is at the heart of this story though…and to find out why she will have to dig deep and discover the truth for herself.

 

The supporting cast of characters are all very good – I particularly liked the enigmatic Detective O’Reilly who keeps trying to keep Alex out of trouble and away from the danger zone with little success, and her old school friend Tony, who himself has a past, who tries to do the same. They mystery element is complicated enough to hold interest and the final resolution is satisfying.

 

All in all a terrific read and I shall look forward to the next Alex Duggins mystery.

 

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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A Killing of Angels is the second book in the Alice Quentin series from Kate Rhodes, stupidly I missed the first, that being Crossbones Yard but that is an error I shall rectify shortly.

In this instalment, Alice, a psychologist, is once again asked by the police to consult on the case of  a killer…this killer is targeting banking executives from a very particular bank. As Alice sorts out the truth from the lies she may well place herself in very real danger…

Even though I had not met Alice in her previous incarnation I grew fond of her really quickly…it certainly caused me no issues whatsoever that I had missed the first novel in the series – there are  mentions in this story to give me enough information without actually giving anything away that would spoil it. So I quickly settled into this intriguing crime mystery.

Alice is a great protagonist to follow…flawlessly flawed is how I would like to describe her – her life may be messy but her work ethic most certainly is not. Surrounded by a great cast of supporting characters, the story ebbs and flows, throwing the odd red herring into the mix before finally resolving itself in a most satisfactory way.

We all know I love my crime fiction – well this is definitely a great addition to the genre. I hope for many more adventures for Alice, a character who is aptly named as she tends to drop down all the nearest rabbit holes to find some rather twisted individuals. Kate Rhodes has now been added to my “must read” list and as soon as time allows I shall head back and investigate the origins of Alice and co.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Thank you to the author and publisher for a copy of this book via netgalley.

 

When an unidentified woman in a coma is murdered, Finnish Detective Kimmo Joentaa is called to the scene – the hospital in which his wife died several years earlier. More deaths follow and as he attempts to unravel the mystery his life is further complicated by the disappearance of his sometime girlfriend Larissa.

I liked this one. I don’t read an awful lot of European/Nordic fiction it has to be said, an error I am currently correcting with several of my reading choices lately and this novel has made me want to continue on that quest. I found the characters to be quirky and intriguing – I believe there are other novels in this series but this is my first foray into the world of Kimmo Joentaa – with a well imagined mystery and enough past information to go by it was one that kept me up late into the night and thats always a good sign. However…

There were some downsides – I struggled to keep up with some of the characters and in places it felt like you had the start of a sub plot that never went anywhere. Also there were a great many peripheral characters that I felt the book could have done without. But these are small things, overall it kept me interested and reading onwards to discover the resolution.

The ending was slightly abrupt for me as well it has to be said. It kind of meandered along during the last few chapters before coming to a reasonably satisfying conclusion..which didnt immediately make me want to read more but did make me feel like there was more to be had.

Overall a pleasant read, one that I enjoyed very much without ever becoming completely immersed in it. Perfect escapism, well written crime fiction.

 

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

 

 

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Thank you to the author for a copy of this book to review.

 

This is a collection of short stories featuring former Scotland Yard detective Chase Williams. Each one depicts a rather unusual case that Chase finds himself embroiled in, sometimes when he would really rather not!

 

This is such a terrific little book to just have on your kindle for those odd moments where you are waiting for something and can’t read for long, or like me, have a Sunday Afternoon where you just want to dip into something fun and involving. Each story is short and sweet – I would say the average reader could complete one in 15 minutes. All are intriguing and Chase is a perfect character to spend a few moments with and its a joy to go along with him as he solves some rather intriguing mysteries. He has a dry sense of humour and an ironic outlook – I related to him very well.

 

There are 6 stories in the collection, each one a little reading gem. Highly recommended for anyone who is trying to reboot their reading self and for those of us who love a quick, easy short story just to get us through the odd moment of boredom. Great stuff.

 

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Thank you to the author for a copy of this book via netgalley.

 

Marty Singer is a retired detective battling Cancer…when the daughter of a murder victim comes to him for help he has the chance to right a wrong from a case that haunts him still. Despite his illness Marty is determined to protect the girl and find the truth…

I was very impressed with this novel, the authors debut I believe and it did get me wondering again about the foibles of publishing..this is terrific crime fiction. An interesting protagonist who you can really get behind, a wonderful mystery story and terrific writing meant that I enjoyed this one thoroughly – and yet prior to the Kindle explosion and the ability to self publish I wonder if it would ever have seen the light of day. Much as self publishing might “flood” the market thank heavens for it I would say, there are some real gems out there and this is one of them.

Marty is an extremely well drawn character – he doesnt rush around brandishing his gun and effortlessly side stepping the bad guys – he can’t. He’s too ill. And yet with quiet determination he tracks down the clues, looks after a vulnerable victim and finds himself a reason to live…

The story unfolds with perfect timing – told mostly from Marty’s point of view we see things through his eyes, something shocks him it shocks us. His backstory – that of his battle with Cancer – is realistic and involving and you will end up hoping for a good outcome for him. I believe there are more Marty Singer stories out there and I will be off to track them down when my schedule allows!

The mystery element is clever without being over complicated and these can be the best kind. A few twists and turns along the way, the introduction of some “sidekicks” who I hope to meet again and a satisfying yet intriguing resolution puts this novel in the top 10% of crime and mystery books that I have read lately. Recommended.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Thank you to the author and publisher for a copy of this book via netgalley.

 

Claudia is heavily pregnant, already dealing with young twin stepsons and is married to a Naval Officer, James, who is often away. In order for her to have some help when the baby arrives, the couple hire a Nanny, Zoe, who upon first glance seems perfect. However as time passes Claudia senses something is off…is it paranoia, hormones or is Zoe not quite what she appears…

I do love a good psychological thriller and this one was top notch. Told from several viewpoints, Claudia, Zoe and the Police Officer who is investigating a series of attacks on pregnant women, the author has created a creeping sense of menace that pervades every chapter. Slowly but surely, as Claudia becomes more and more suspicious of Zoe’s motives and danger looms ever closer as she nears her due date you are drawn into the story and wondering what exactly Zoe has in store for Claudia and her baby….

Story flow is always important in a book like this…and this one flows beautifully, one part leading to the next in perfect harmony, keeping you on the edge of your seat and wanting to know more. I would liken it in a way to watching a horror movie unfold…you just KNOW that the girl should be running straight out of the front door but instead she goes to see what is making the noise upstairs. Manipulative characters are always the most fun to read about it has to be said.  Zoe is likeable and seems to be the perfect Nanny,  friendly with Claudia’s close friend Pip and mindful of Claudia’s condition and the care she needs, at times she seems almost comforting. Claudia struggles with the prospect of allowing a stranger into her home even before she starts to feel afraid…Its all very realistic.

Another thing I loved about this particular novel was the attention paid to a heartfelt subject. The inability  to have a child can affect women in the strangest of ways – that is very true. A study of maternal instinct if you like, Sam Hayes has cleverly given Claudia a job, that of social worker, that also gives you the reader the opportunity to explore that from different angles. Cleverly done and gives the novel a depth that takes it out of the “standard” category and puts it into the “excellent” category as far as thrillers go.

The Hand That Rocks The Cradle Is The Hand That Rules The World. Yes indeed.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Thank you kindly to Legend Press for allowing me a copy of this book via netgalley.

 

Alicia returns to her home for the first time in many years, bringing her daughter to stay for the Summer and help out with the care of her Father who has suffered a stroke. Dark memories arise from her time living at home..and she can’t quite put her finger on the entire reasons for her discomfort – yes her Father was strict, unbending and abusive but there is something she can’t quite remember. Meanwhile someone is watching both her and her daughter…watching and waiting…

I loved the way this story flowed….written in quite a punchy style, from the point of view of Alice and her “stalker” it gives you a real sense of menace as you read…cleverly, the setting makes this even more apparent – the beautiful village with friendly locals and lovely scenery should be a place of safety but no-one knows what goes on behind closed doors. As Alicia faces her past and heads into a dangerous future you are never quite sure where the journey is going to end. Ms Huber has a genuine talent for putting you in her characters heads and this is an intelligent and thoughtful debut.

On another note it is also has an eye to dealing with illness and the very real issues having an elderly parent who needs full time care can pose for a family. Alicia’s opposing view to that of her Aunt in what is best for her father is very well imagined – a discussion I am sure goes on in homes all over the country…and that adds to the realism of the situation Alicia finds herself in.

All in all I would definitely recommend this for lovers of mystery stories – it has a hint of the “old school” about it which makes it a great book to sit and indulge yourself with. Watch out though…you never know who might be watching you!

 

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First of all thank you to the author and the publisher for the advanced copy of this book via netgalley.

Now the first thing I have to say is, despite my best intentions, I believe this is the first novel I have read from Alafair Burke, a situation I shall have to rectify because this was extremely good.

Mckenna Jordan, magazine journalist, is about to write a human interest story about an unknown woman who performed an act of heroism in a subway station and subsequently left the scene before anyone could acknowledge her bravery. When Mckenna is given some footage shot on a mobile phone she is shocked to discover that she knows the woman, Susan…and Susan disappeared without a trace 10 years earlier…

And so the mystery begins. As we find out more about Mckenna and her background, and her relationship to Susan, the story grows ever more intriguing. I do like a book that takes you in unexpected directions and this one does just that. Mckenna herself has a somewhat dubious past…disgraced years earlier while working for the District Attorney, still the skills she had back then start to serve her well now as she delves once again into the past to find out what became of Susan…why she left and why she has resurfaced. Despite her Husbands protestations, Mckenna is determined to find the truth – and in doing so inadvertantly puts herself and those she loves in danger.

We have two strong female protagonists here – both Mckenna and Susan have aspects to their characters that make this an involving read. Mckenna is tenacious…she is not going to let this go. Susan is strong willed in other ways…and both have their reasons for being this way.

I also loved the relationship between McKenna and her Husband Patrick. He is a patient soul, a man you would imagine it would be extremely comforting to be around. All of the characters here are interwoven in an intricate and clever way…including various supporting characters who enter along the journey. The mystery element itself is terrific – I couldnt really see where it was going until it got there and plenty of twists and turns will keep you turning the pages.

All in all a terrific read. When my reading schedule settles down a bit I shall certainly read more from this author because it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

 

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One of my favourite Authors would be Kathy Reichs, I have followed Dr Brennan’s adventures from the get go so thank you kindly for the advanced copy from netgalley.

This instalment finds Doc Brennan investigating the hit and run death of an unidentified young girl, whilst trying to help a soldier in Afghanistan who is accused of an unlawful killing during an assault on a local village. Reluctantly leaving her “Jane Doe” behind she travels to the war torn country to investigate…

Following many strands in that unique way that Ms Reichs has, as usual this was brilliantly done. Its no surprise given her background that these are some of the most authentic tales you will find in this genre and her knowledge and experience as always shines through during the more technical portions of the book. And yet even someone who has zero knowledge will know what is going on – there is always a handy character hanging around who is dim witted in these matters that the good Doctor has to explain things to in common language – Slidell usually, a character I have what is close to adoration for, he brings a lot of light relief to the drama as always.

Another thing I’ve always loved about this particular style of writing is also prevalent here – Each chapter ends with a short, snappy sentence that somehow, someway, even if its mundane, means you have to read at LEAST a page of the following chapter before putting the novel down. If you can. As usual I found this hard to do! Its not even that there is a cliffhanger at the end of each portion – its just something. It can be an addiction – I did read late into the night again…its a side effect Ms Reichs books have on me. At least now I’m used to it. And I look forward to it.

I have the greatest admiration and respect for this author anyway. She has done an awful lot with her life, not only just for a career but as a calling and has helped an awful lot of people. And hey, she can write. A great story, a terrific page turner, and now you can watch Temperance Brennan on the small screen in “Bones”. A different incarnation again – don’t expect the books – and a terrifically entertaining show.

So there you go. If you are already a fan then I’m not telling you anything you don’t know. I seriously doubt I can get a Q&A with Ms Reichs for publication day like I try to do with the majority of my Advance Reading because she really must be one of the busiest women on the planet! What I WILL do on 29th August is devote a whole blogpost to Dr Brennan, post an extended review for this novel and talk about some of the early books – so if you havent yet read these it will give you a better idea of whether or not you would like too. And I expect you will you know…

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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The first thing I will say about this one is it had a truly intriguing  protagonist. Jasmine Frame is transgender, looking to be accepted in more ways than one, firstly as a woman and then as an investigator…its a premise I havent read before and it made it a very absorbing read. I’ll be totally honest – I know nothing about this subject at all, but by the end of the novel I had come to a better understanding of the issues that can be faced.

P.R.Ellis has done a good job of creating a story with a good mystery element that also allows the reader to be educated – it IS a gripping thriller. Jasmine is tracking a killer – and to do so she is asked to do some things that go against her better judgement and what she is trying to achieve….and there are some tough decisions ahead.

Its a bit difficult to review this WELL without spoiling the heart of the story…the characters are well drawn and it is one that will keep you reading. Whilst not my favourite of my latest mystery reading it was certainly unique. And I would recommend it for lovers of the genre who want to get in at the start of what may well end up being a great series.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

 

 

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Firstly, thank you kindly to the author for sending me a copy of this book for review.

Casey Collins has gone missing. She is 9 years old and has been gone for over 24 hours. As the police investigate prejudice abounds – the family live on a run down estate and assumptions are made. But Casey’s mum Trisha is hiding a secret…

I very much enjoyed this book. For a start it brought back memories of living on the same type of estate when I was younger…and Eva Hudson has cleverly embraced the attitudes that tend to prevail and woven them into an intricate plot. Reporter Angela Tate, who I believe appears in earlier novels, is the only one that accepts the possibility that Trisha is not as she is portrayed – and I found her to be a compelling character. With its roots set firmly in the past and a possible miscarriage of justice, is it possible that Casey has been taken for revenge? Another character I loved was Natasha – one of the police officers on the case. She is hiding secrets of her own, and this colours her actions…she intrigued me a great deal.

The mystery element is superb – enough twists and turns to keep crime readers happy and yet equally an intriguing  look at the society we live in and how much importance we base on appearance…this was cleverly done and well written. If I had to “box” it I would say crime thriller – but it could easily fall under simple fiction – a story of real people, facing real issues in the world as it is today. Character driven from the start and never lacking in human emotion, I was right there with them all for the whole of the journey. And the ending WILL shock you….

This novel is part of the “Degrees of Separation” series from this author – it is the third but can easily be read as a standalone. I shall certainly when time allows, be reading the previous two books.

Find out more about Eva Hudson here : http://evahudson.com/

Follow her on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/Eva_Hudson

 

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

 

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First of all thank you to the publishers for allowing me a copy of this book via  Netgalley.

 

So here we are at book 4, in a series I have loved from Jane Casey,  namely that of Maeve Kerrigan and more importantly (Sorry Maeve!) her sometime boss and sidekick the adorably unlikeable (but loveable) DCI Josh Derwent. This instalment finds Maeve and co on the track of a serial killer….However she is put in a difficult position when it becomes clear to her that the prime suspect is Derwent himself…

I adored this book for many reasons. Firstly the series main characters are all so very good, and much as I have a  crush on Derwent, Maeve is just as loveable – I especially like her ironic and plausible outlook on her own psyche and actions – often telling herself off as she dives head first into a situation she KNOWS she should avoid..and the way she tends to just fall into the people who are eventually going to become important to her and gives them pieces of her soul without even realising she is doing it. As someone who often has those “lightbulb” moments herself I can relate. As for Josh Derwent, well. He is difficult to describe..the best I can do. You know that silly game you play with friends called “Marry, Sleep with or Kill ?”…well in the book world Josh Derwent would be my answer to all three. Really. And he’s getting a bigger role in each novel…this one was, as described to me by the author “Wall to Wall Derwent” and that made me one happy reader. The aptly named Godley is also a treat as he tries to keep the unruly pair under control and the rest of the cast of unlikely and likely characters all add to the whole. The relationships developed amongst all the characters over the course of the novels is beautifully done – so much so that often the best bits don’t have anything to with their current mystery.

So that leads nicely on to talking about this particular mystery. It had some terrific twists and turns – and no I wasnt automatically sure during reading that my beloved Derwent wasnt a murderer…nor will you be until you read it yourself and find out. Is he? Is he not?  The current murders have their roots planted firmly in the past…and a death that Derwent was caught up in during his teenage years – in the telling of the tale you come to understand him and his motivations a lot more. I always enjoy a book where the past intrudes on the present and this one is a classic and brilliantly imagined example of that. So enjoy. You know you want to. What? Not met Maeve and more importantly (yes yes I know) Derwent (book 2 onwards)  before? Well you need to start with “The Burning”.

Incidentally Jane has rashly promised to answer some questions for me and I will be having an “all things Kerrigan” day on Friday 16th August. Keep an eye out!

Happy Reading Folks!

Find out more here : http://www.maevekerrigan.co.uk/

Follow Jane Casey on Twitter here : https://twitter.com/JaneCaseyAuthor

 

 

 

 

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First of all thank you to the publisher for the advanced copy of this novel via netgalley.

Emily is desperately trying to leave a violent past behind her and escape a stalker who has haunted her for years. Pregnant with her first child she and her Husband move to Clairmont, Texas. Hoping for a new start Emily finds herself thrust into the heart of a group of Texas women, all of whom have secrets – run by their “Queen” Caroline Warwick, who may also be hiding secrets of her own. When Caroline disappears Emily finds herself having to unravel the threads of her past, as well as her present in order to save herself.

I loved the way this novel was written. It was kind of messy like Emily herself but in a very good way….as she unravels things YOU unravel things and the story has many twists and turns along the way. Cleverly released information in small doses makes you turn the pages all the faster to find out who is hiding what and why – and the characters are not always what they appear to be. Emily herself reveals her own secrets along the way – she hides from herself as much as from anyone and this makes her a very well drawn character. The Texas women are all intriguing – hey and annoying in equal measure – their “voices” will speak to you, I could almost hear them as I read. And the final resolution will not disappoint…

This novel also tackles some serious subjects head on and in a realistic and I think quite important way..the second book I have come across recently that does so. This gives it an edge over a standard mystery thriller and for that reason as well as the fact that its a great story  I would highly recommend it.

Find out more about Julia Heaberlin here http://juliaheaberlin.com/

Follow her on Twitter here https://twitter.com/juliathrillers

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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The latest in the Maeve Kerrigan series, sees Maeve investigating the murder of a mother and daughter and peripherally, several gang shootings. As usual for this series,we have excellent plotting, great characters and an eye for detail that can be missing in a lot of Crime Fiction these days. In the tradition of Mo Hayder (but may I say in my opinion far superior especially lately) this is a good mystery story, where the solution is not immediately obvious and it is extremely well written. Enough of a “page turner” to keep you very interested all the way through, this series is a great addition to the genre and one I hope continues for some time. And Derwent. Sigh. On my list of fictional characters I would marry. Looking forward to more.

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This story follows one man, the Chief medical examiner of New York City, Paul Konig over several days of his life.

It is a quirky and slightly different crime read for me which I enjoyed but I have to admit not as much as usual for this genre. It was gritty, the characterisation was excellent and yet it still didnt quite do it for me. The story follows Paul Konig as he deals with the kidnap of his daughter and various other issues and it is extremely well written – other reviewers have said its brilliant and it kind of is – and yet something wasnt quite there that would have given me complete satisfaction.

Putting my personal opinion aside for a moment I will say this – If you are a fan of crime fiction you might want to read this. Its not a widely known novel and its obvious that my opinion is a minority one, which tells me this book is going to be subjective. You may love it and certainly there are things to love – the backdrop of NYC and the quite morbid tone of the novel will certainly appeal to readers of noir. Paul Konig himself is fascinating – and watching him traverse the waters of this city and its issues can in places be compelling.

I will finish by saying that I can’t quite put my finger on why this wasnt a 5 * review for me. It left me vaguely unsettled – perhaps that in itself will tell you something – and I did read it quickly which would usually mean I would be about to rave about it. I’m thinking that perhaps this is one you will have to decide upon for yourself fellow readers. Don’t dismiss it but it wasnt QUITE for me.

 

 

 

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In “Black Irish” we follow Detective Absalom (Abbie) Kearney in her hunt for a brutal murderer who is striking at the heart of the Irish American community in Buffalo. Thwarted at every turn as the close knit community of “the county” close ranks around its own, she is bound and determined to break through the barriers and catch the killer.

It took me a few chapters to become immersed in this story – the background is important and it took a bit of reading before I understood the heart of the story – but once I was there this was a terrific read. Abbie is a great character with an interesting background – and to see a story that involves the IRA from this point of view was extremely interesting – although not the basis for the tale, it provides the backdrop. As Abbie struggles to unravel the past events that are haunting her present, we see a different side to the idea of community.

Mr Talty’s writing is clever and intriguing – the last few chapters of the novel were a complete rollercoaster ride and if as it seems, this is the beginning of a series, I shall look forward greatly to the next instalment. There is a lot still to learn about this place and this lady – and I for one will be waiting in line to find out whats next. Many thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy of this book to review. Highly enjoyable.

A great addition to the crime and mystery genre I would recommend this to anyone who is an avid crime reader – and also to anyone that likes a good tale well spun and with an ending that isnt immediately obvious. Great stuff. Happy Reading folks!

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Well. Mel Sheraratt is a lovely lady so I’m very pleased to say that this, my first foray into one of her novels, was fantastic. One insomnia filled night and I completed this in record time which is testament to how good it was…and here is why.

Detective Sergeant Allie Shenton is investigating the murder of Steph Ryder – and in doing so starts at the beginning – with the victims family and friends. However in a nice little play on the usual, we start by learning about Steph’s final movements and interactions with those around her and a little something about these people – I loved that aspect of the book because I felt it gave us, the readers, a good insight and a chance to solve the crime ourselves! Sadly I didnt solve it – I had to wait like everyone else, but still, cleverly done! Allie becomes convinced that Steph’s husband may know more than he’s telling – and as she starts to feel attracted to him, she risks a lot to discover the truth.

Its a clever little mystery, well written and absorbing. Characterisation has a high degree of realism – you will feel these are real people doing real things – and certainly that had a lot to do with my enjoyment of the book. I was fond of Allie – flawed but determined she is easy to like. And its a twisty tale – I had no clue what was going on and those are the best reads – the ones where you really don’t know until the author chooses to tell you. Brilliant. More please! Happy Reading Folks!

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So, after what felt like a long wait to me, I started reading The Ophelia Cut and realised quite early on that here was Dismas Hardy, rocking the reading world once again. I love a good legal thriller and Dismas Hardy, along with Steve Martini’s Paul Madriani are two of my favourite literary lawyers. In this outing, his niece Brittany is raped and Dismas finds himself in defence of Brittany’s father Moses, standing accused of the murder of the rapist. With past events threatening to come to light, this is a race against time to save Moses and to ensure the future safety of Dismas and his friends.

As usual it is brilliantly written. This is, I believe, the 14th outing for Mr Hardy in his own right and the standard has not slipped – indeed if anything it has improved with each story. Dismas is not young now but he is still impressive in stature and intelligence. Mr Lescroart explores family here – not only blood family but the family we create for ourselves as we move through life. Over the course of all the Hardy novels, these relationships have developed, changed and if you read them all will become almost like your own. Other novels follow other major characters and as a whole, this authors catalogue is magnificent – A whole life story for Mr Hardy and those that surround him. Anyone who has followed them all will LOVE “The Ophelia Cut” – there is nothing bad here. If you have yet to enjoy these books, I would recommend reading them in order – Dead Irish is the first – and I promise you will very quickly catch up because one will follow another. Very enjoyable.

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So. Another in the series featuring DI Damen Brook, I have been looking forward to this one and it didnt disappoint. DI Brook, back from his latest “leave” is stuck investigating Cold cases – a job he neither wants nor is particularly interested in. Determined to toe the line though, he dives in with a modicum of enthusiasm…until something peaks his interest. And of course, this IS Damen Brook we are talking about so soon he is going off at a tangent in his own way and the possibility of a hidden killer begins to emerge. With its foot firmly in the past, this novel covers decades – from the sixties onwards – and each little part of the whole is beautifully written. With subtle changes to the writing style giving each period in history its own feel, the main bulk of the story follows Damen as he sorts through the myriad of information, forgotton memories and lost details that together will give him the solution he seeks. And trust me, its quite a solution. Until DI Brook told me the whole story I didnt get the whole story – but its all there. And with hindsight makes perfect sense. So a clever crime novel, a “whodunnit” but also a tense race against time to save a life. And what was truly brilliant? I was honestly not sure whether or not the clock would be beaten and Brook would emerge triumphant- and you won’t be either. You want me to tell you don’t you? I know you do..well I won’t. Because why on earth would I spoil your fun? Or allow you to spoil mine while I watch you swim in the sea of wonderful confusion, twists and turns that is “The Unquiet Grave”.

My thanks to the publisher for the advance copy of this book. I will be talking about it again nearer its release date of the 4th July and its entirely possibly you may find an expansion on the above thoughts – there is a lot to this book. For now I want you to put it on your lists folks. And if you havent met Brook yet – well what are you waiting for? You have time! For the events leading up to “The Unquiet Grave” it is fine to start with “Deity”. A tip for readers, I know that its helpful to know if a series MUST be read in order. Mr Dunne’s books are all stunning in their own way – but each can be read on its own merits.

 

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Once again I found myself diving into a “second in series” book by an author I was already extremely fond of. The first book in the “Carrigan and Miller” series, A Dark Redemption, was excellent and I was not far into this one before I realised that, if anything, it was even better. This time we find our protagonists investigating arson at a convent in which eleven nuns die…except there were only ten nuns in residence. With Eleven days to go until Christmas, the powers that be are keen for a resolution to this case… So begins a mystery that is deeper than it first appears and takes us on a journey across time and continents until the final,very jaw dropping (in the best way possible – I didnt see it coming and there was I thinking I was clever…) solution. Once again Mr Sherez creates characters you can believe in. Both Carrigan and Miller grow in stature and the supporting cast are all important to the story and well drawn. The background, of evil acts in South America, The Shining Path and all the political shenanigans is brilliant – extremely realistic, I imagine that a fair bit of research was involved in making it authentic. Its also a terrific social comment on what may be happening in our own back yard that we all turn a blind eye to – some of the story was very emotive and isnt it great when a book can make you feel something as well as entertain you? I have to say I was pleased to be reading this on the Kindle – I’m fairly sure I would be covered in paper cuts by now otherwise in my eagerness to turn pages…so all in all a great sequel, a great book and if you havent met up with Carrigan and Millar before, head back towards a Dark Redemption and I’m fairly sure it will then be less than Eleven Days before you are reading Eleven Days. Wonderful.

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Having loved “Heart Shaped Bruise” I was very keen to get onto Ms Byrnes latest book and indeed it was a great one. Very different from her debut, but in its own way just as stunning, this novel tells the tale of Adamma, daughter of a Nigerian Diplomat, who is attending the prestigious Crofton College whilst she is in England. There she meets free spirit Scarlett, a wonderful character that Miss Byrne has literally breathed life into through her writing, and the girls become fast friends. Enter a man. Yes you guessed it. The friendship is shaken. Then Scarlett disappears…
A story of the friendship between two young women, and the real life things that come between them, this will keep you turning the pages until you are done. Adamma is terrific – a very different outlook on life from Scarlett, and certainly a lot more loyal – that loyalty is tested to its very limits. How far would you go for someone you believe is a friend? And where would you draw the line? Scarlett herself is self absorbed but even as you are tutting at her you will also be wishing that you had a friend a bit like her.
The supporting cast of characters all do their part – I was particularly fond of “Bones” and yes, I was on Star Trek not BONES. Anyway, read this and enjoy it. It has just confirmed my belief that I want to read anything Tanya Byrne writes ever. Next please.

 

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What a beautiful and evocative first novel from this author – Having finished it a very short time ago I am attempting to write this review whilst still slightly tearful and to me that is pretty much the best compliment I could pay. In its pages you will find the “diary” of Emily Koll, a young girl currently in a secure unit awaiting trial for a crime as yet unspecified. Emily tells us her story and really, whilst doing so, tries to work out for herself the events in her life that have led her to where she is today and created the reasons for doing what she did. Its really difficult to put into words the emotional rollercoaster I was on whilst reading this – its beautifully written and while you are there with Emily she is truly a flesh and blood person, not a literary character. Your heart will bleed for her, and indeed at certain parts of the narrative you will get extremely angry with her – every chance not taken, every turn she makes that you know is going to lead to tears and yet you are pulled along, helpless, to the final denouement. There is a lot more that could be said…but you need to take Emily’s journey with her, not with me. At its heart this may well be a novel about redemption – but that is something each reader must decide for themselves. I like to think so.

 

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“The Wicked Girls” is an interesting book – when you start to read it you are kind of expecting a fairly straightforward murder mystery with perhaps the small twist being the fact that the main characters themselves committed a murder. What you actually get is a pretty darn good social comment on child murderers, their reintegration into society and the endless ways that those “outside” of the case can view the “criminals”. (Trying not to give away any plot details here, its important to come at this story with minimal knowledge in my opinion). Set against a backdrop of a serial killer haunting a small seaside town, it tells the tale of Jade and Bel, two women who in their youth were imprisoned for a horrendous crime. Now living back in society as a cleaner and a Journalist respectively, their worlds collide again during the events of the main portion of the book. Told in real time and flashback, you get a real sense of place and a feeling for the realities of their situation, both then and now. Cleverly written to keep you guessing, and without need to resort to cliche, I thought this was a terrific story and certainly the resolution of the tale gave pause for thought. Excellent. A 5 star book really, but I think there are great things to come from this author and am leaving myself some wiggle room! Good stuff.

 

 

 

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Jack the Ripper is an enduring mystery that has baffled and bemused people for over a century. Many novelists and screen writers have attempted to incorporate Jack into the telling of a tale but I don’t think I’ve ever seen it done in such a discerning way as Ms Bolton has achieved here. Meet Lacey Flint. She is a Police officer and an expert in all things Ripper – he is, after all, her favourite character from history. So when she discovers a woman, barely alive, slumped over her car and further events lead the enquiry team to believe that there is a copycat out there, Lacey is the obvious person to catch the killer. So begins a twisting jewel of a tale which will keep your brain on its toes and, if you are anything like me, regularly swearing in your head at the author as she leads you one way and then in a sentence or two, turns you upside down and sends you down the next blind alley. In short, the type of book that I love. It may be Crime Fiction but you will have to think and consider and wonder – all the things you should be doing if a book is good. The background information is fantastic – either Ms Bolton herself is a Ripper aficionado or she has sure done her research and must be one by now. All the facts of the Ripper case are seamlessly incorporated into the story, whilst many of the “myths” surrounding the original case are dispelled. To use a television comparison – if you even vaguely enjoyed the show “WhiteChapel” you will love this book – especially as this is probably the superior of the two when it comes to good story telling. On another note, Lacey Flint is a terrific character, definitely not a one trick pony (I note with absolute pleasure that I have two more Flint novels in my future)- there is far more to know about her. The “supporting” cast are all perfect in their own way and I hope to meet them all again when I next pick up a book by SJ Bolton. Which if I have my way will be very soon.

 

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For me, a Val Mcdermid novel is a treat to be savoured which is why I often read them long after publication (the exception being the “Tony Hill” books which I can’t stop myself from devouring in an instant!). The Hardback version of this has been sat on my shelf for a while (and boy its a good looking book) A couple of days ago I decided it was time and dived in. I tend to really enjoy Ms McDermid’s stand alone novels (A Place of Execution and The Distant Echo being some of the best crime fiction I’ve ever read) and it was no different here. Charlie Flint, currently suspended psychiatric profiler, receives a package in the post with clippings about a murder that has taken place at her old College in Oxford. Her investigation into who sent this to her, and ultimately into the murder itself, creates the basis for this story. Well executed as ever, Val Mcdermid is the queen of misdirection whilst always in actuality sending you completely the right way if only you can get your brain in gear. Her characters are real and so are the places they inhabit. This book was even more fun for me as I live just outside Oxford, and atmospherically she has got it spot on. As usual you get all the information you need to know what the truth actually is long before the end and yet still the rug gets pulled out from underneath you. Whilst this was not my favourite of her novels, that doesnt detract from the fact that this is Crime fiction at its best.

 

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So, you know how sometimes when you start a book, you get that little frisson of excitement because you are fairly sure you are about to add another set of novels to that already large grouping that you call “must read whenever there is a new one”? I had that feeling here, probably about a quarter of the way through the book. Anna returns home from work one day to discover her flat broken into and a dead body occupying it. Which as you can imagine, is a bit of a shock. Suspected by the Police, and discovering that her life wasnt quite what she thought it was, Anna’s world is turned upside down. Enter DCI Helen Lavery (who I assume we are going to meet again – if not I may have to write a strongly worded letter!)leading her first Murder enquiry whilst juggling family life and responsibilities. Here’s what I loved on a personal level. I could relate very strongly to both the female leads here – Firstly, Helen Lavery is a woman after my own heart when it comes to dealing with stroppy teenagers and juggling the needs of the rest of the family whilst still holding down a high powered job. No she’s not perfect, who amongst us is? But she is realistically imperfect in the way of the real world rather than the fictional world. Then there is Anna. For reasons I can’t mention due to my determination never to include spoilers, I really was right there with her – some of what she goes through I have been through myself (no, not finding bodies in my living room I promise, or any sort of violence!)and her reactions are very realistic – or at least I imagine they are as they mirror my own in a lot of ways. From a readers point of view – you get a great mystery, almost Christie-esque (although I’m sure the author won’t mind me saying she’s not quite Christie!) in its presentation and resolution and some terrific supporting characters to back up the wonderful leading ladies. I kind of hope we meet Anna again as well – the relationship that develops between them is in its infancy here, but is fascinating none the less and I would like to see it explored further. All in all a darn good yarn – and I am looking forward with great anticipation to the next novel from this writer.

 

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I wasnt aware of this author until I was pointed in his direction and I am very glad that I was. I am a big fan of the crime/mystery genre, and I’m quite fond of those novels featuring Private Investigators as opposed to Detectives – quite often these stories are more well rounded (see the Elvis Cole series!) and that is certainly the case here. Joe Geraghty is a great creation – a sympathetic character with his own personal demons, who is struggling along making a living as a Private Investigator. Investigating a staff absenteeism, the lady under investigation turns up dead. Not a good start for Joe, who feels that he may become a suspect. Intertwined with this case, he is also looking into the disappearance of a singer several years earlier. You will also get for your money a couple of great sidekicks and a terrific villain. A whole lot of fun, great pacing and characterisation and a pretty darn good story to boot, you won’t be disappointed. Looking forward to reading book 2.

 

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Very sad to say but I think I will at last have to give up on the hope that Patricia Cornwell is ever going to return to brilliance again with her Scarpetta series. I have made my way through the last few books hoping each time that they will be as enjoyable as her earlier efforts. Its just not happening folks. I read “The Body Farm” way back in my late teens and it was this novel that started me on my love of crime fiction,and indeed a new Patricia Cornwell novel was a treat I looked forward to for many a year.
Now I really don’t understand the direction she is taking. WHY is there ALWAYS a “conspiracy” in play against Dr Scarpetta? Every novel these days is filled with her feelings of mistrust towards those closest to her. From being a strong, independant, successful woman she has become a whiny paranoid shadow of her former self. Extremely unlikeable nowadays, its hard to find even a tiny bit of sympathy for the character or to dredge up even a minor interest in what happens to her next.
The rest of the characters are just as bad. Marino has no redeeming features anymore, Lucy is stuck forever being a petulant teenager, Benton is at least an adult but hardly makes an appearance. Because of this I had little to zero interest in the mystery they were trying to solve.
I would recommend you read her early Scarpetta novels, up to and including Black Notice. After that honestly don’t bother. I certainly will not be bothering again.

 

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At the start of “Little Girl Lost” a young child is found, wandering the snowy woods in her nightclothes, with no identification and an unwillingness to talk. DS Lucy Black is called out to the scene and so begins her story. Having returned home to care for her Father who is suffering from dementia, Lucy finds herself caught up in the case of the mysterious child, the kidnapping of a teenager, and a delve into the past of her own family. A multi layered tale, the clues are subtly included in the narrative, the author finds no need to resort to unbelievable coincidences to link one thing to another and therein lies the beauty of the story. There are a couple of things that I especially liked about this book – Firstly, the interaction between Lucy and her father, and the scene setting of what it can be like to deal with a relative who suffers from this problem – as a person who knows it first hand I can honestly say that this narrative is both extremely realistic, both with reference to the actions of Dad and the emotional responses it provokes in Lucy, and with the idea it gives of the extreme strain this can place on a relationship with a loved one. The other thing I loved was the layering of the story – a plot within a plot within a plot if you like, that kept me turning the pages long into the night. The background in reference to the “troubles” is well written and done in such a way so that you do not need to have any depth of knowledge of the history in order to follow the influences it has on the characters lives today. There is a twist in the tale and a heart wrenching moment, both of which make this just about perfect. I am hoping that we see this character again – and in the meantime I will be hunting down the “Inspector Devlin” books to have a look at. Excellent. Read this.

 

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Forensic psychiatrist Jo Beckett is a ” psychological autopsy” specialist – if cause of death is unclear she will “profile” the victim’s life to see if she can come up with a verdict, be it suicide, natural or other. I found this to be an interesting premise and a unique one (The first in the series is “Dirty Secrets Club” which somehow passed me by, but that did not detract from my reading pleasure in this novel and I will be visiting Jo’s first case shortly!) and was looking forward to diving in, especially as the book was a gift from someone who knows a good book when they see one! I was not disappointed. In this case, Jo is asked to profile a still living subject – Ian Kanan – who having caused havoc while on a flight is found to be unable to form new memories – Ian insists he has been poisoned and having escaped from custody, is considered a danger to both himself and others. People who were on the flight with him begin to succumb to the same problem, and it becomes clear that there is a lot more going on than at first appears. Its scary stuff as the possible causes for the situation begin to emerge. I loved Jo Beckett as a character – she has depth and an intriguing back story (which I may well discover more of when I head backwards in time!) and she has a collection of supporting characters around her who add to the enjoyment of the read (I especially love Jo’s next door neighbour!) and give the story more than one dimension. All in all a brilliant read and I look forward to more in this series. I should probably check out the “Evan Delaney” books as well because one of my favourite things in the world is discovering a great author who has a back catalogue I can dig myself into – Better late to the party than never arriving. Enjoy!

 

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With her first novel, Anya Lipska has created that lovely thing – a crime novel with enough originality to make it a great read for fans of the genre. Janusz Kiszka is a Polish ex pat who has been living in London for many years. A “fixer” he is asked to track down a missing Polish girl. Meanwhile, the body of a young girl is washed up along the Thames and new officer DC Natalie Kershaw is investigating. I loved the background to this novel – giving an insight into a different culture within the UK, and some history about their roots, this is as much a political novel as anything else and I found it fascinating reading. The characters are terrific – well fleshed out and compelling, I was especially fond of Janusz – once hoping to enter the scientific community until fate intervened to give him an entirely different existence – he is a man of many sides, not all of them good. Natalie is very likeable, the interactions between the two are terrific and I hope that their relationship can be further developed in future stories. The mystery component of the book is well done, enough twists and turns to make you keep page turning, but the characterisation was the part I was most fond of. I love a book where you can really get behind the protagonists and live the story right along with them and this had that in spades. The resolution was satisfying and I will certainly be reading more from this author.

 

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This was a great first outing for what I’m sure will turn into a popular series featuring Kate Daniels. Here, she takes on her first case as lead detective but fails to disclose her connection to the victim, putting her career in jeopardy. Perfectly paced, great characterisation and an interesting plot make for a terrific read. Crime fiction is a huge genre, with many new novels appearing all the time, some of them terrific, some of them – well, frankly, quite awful. I would put “The Murder Wall” into the excellent category and I will certainly be reading more from this author.

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With “Six Years” Harlan Coben has hit top form again in the mystery stakes from my point of view. Ok, as some other reviewers have mentioned, yes, the standard Coben elements are there – missing loved one, protagonist determined to find the truth no matter what the cost, mysterious figures hovering in the background doing mysterious things, no-one can be trusted and its all a big gigantic brain drain. Our hero in this particular novel is Jake Sanders, in love with Natalie, looking forward to a life together when suddenly she ends their relationship and marries another man. Extracting a promise from Jake that he will “leave her alone” she heads off into a new life with her husband. Fast forward six years, and Jake notices an obituary on the internet..that of Natalie’s husband. Except this mans wife is not Natalie….And off we go. Determined to find her, Jake finds himself in all kinds of trouble, again as usual for Mr Coben but here is the thing…like his early novels its not that easy to work out where this is all going. The twists in the tale are perfectly placed, the pacing is just right in order to read this in nice large chunks (and occasionally long into the night as I did) and for the first time in a few books, I didnt get the solution right. Terrific. I much prefer to be wrong! If you are already a Coben fan I think you will be pleased with this book, if this is your first then actually its a pretty good place to start. Just a quick note: I have seen some rumblings that perhaps Mr Coben abandoned Myron Bolitar because the novels were going downhill and there was nowhere to go with them – I disagree. I loved each and every one of Myron’s adventures and if Mr Coben were to write another ten of them it still wouldnt be enough for me – I mention this only because if you havent yet read a Harlan Coben novel, and are more a fan of “series” novels than “standalone” you might want to check out “Deal Breaker”. I might even have a reread myself.

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David Mark has done a terrific job with his first novel, creating a likeable and compelling hero in DS Mcavoy. Rather rare for crime fiction, Mcavoy is a happily married family man, a “gentle giant” and from the start you are rooting for him to crack the case – the case being several murders. The victims have all previously survived horrific incidents and are now being killed in the manner in which they would have died originally. The case itself is intriguing and the pacing of the novel is spot on. The peripheral characters, including Mcavoy’s wife Roisin and his superior officer Pharoah – who herself manages to avoid being a cliche – are very well drawn and you quickly become part of the world the author is creating.Mcavoy does have a past – an intriguing one that I’m sure we will hear more about in later novels. The setting – Hull – is well described and I could almost imagine being there. All in all I enjoyed it thoroughly and I look forward greatly to Mcavoy’s further adventures which I am hoping will follow – indeed, if there were one available now, that would be next on my list to read. More please.

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You know how sometimes when you absolutely LOVE a debut novel, you approach the second in the series with some trepidation? That was me heading into “Original Skin” having pretty much adored “Dark Winter” and wondering if the terrifically entertaining David Mark could do it again. Well the title for this review should tell you.. as in “Oh Goody its FANTASTIC!” Aector Mcavoy is back and he’s better than ever. This gentle giant of a man, with his inate sense of justice and quiet love for his family is just the guy you would want helping you out if you were in trouble. In this, his second outing, he is investigating the murder that never was – that of a young man, Simon, who apparently killed himself some time before. After finding a phone, the information on it leads Aector to believe that this was not, after all, the case. His boss, the wonderfully funny Trish Pharoah, supports him in his quest whilst gently berating him for adding to the crime statistics. “Do you know why we don’t carry guns in this country Hector?” she asks him. “Because if we did, I’d shoot you”. Yes indeed Ms Pharoah – right there with you! Ongoing over the course of the story is the continuing “Drug Trade” issues and the eclectic cast of supporting characters take on this problem with flair and grace…well, kind of. Its all highly entertaining, dark in places and humerous in others. I especially liked the involvement of the travelling community – giving us a chance to learn a bit more about the background of Roisin, wife of Aector – another lovely character who stands by her man, often in ways he’d rather she didnt. Still, that is a wife’s job after all. All in all a terrific read. Now I need to moan at Mr Mark for a while until we can have a third. Enjoy!

 

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This, the third outing for DI Damen Brook, has him investigating two cases. In the first case, homeless men are turning up dead with all their organs removed, having apparently died of natural causes. In the second, four students from Derby College disappear into thin air after a party. I’m actually going to stop there on the plot, because truly, this is a magnificent book and most of the joy is in the discovery of what exactly is going on. The characterisation has always been good in a novel by this author but here it takes an upturn – its superb. Delving deep into the psychology of all the major players, and giving further insight into Brook himself, you really get a sense of who these people are and what motivates them to do what they do. Yes its a mystery, yes its a thriller. But its also one of those great things that can be missing in novels these days (especially in the overcrowded Crime Fiction genre) an honest to goodness story. A tale. A yarn. You know, those things you first started learning about with bedtime stories. I loved it. I’m loving a lot of what I’m reading lately. How lucky am I? Great stuff Mr Dunne. Next please.

 

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Hugo Fletcher, a pillar of society, loved by the public and famous for his charity works is found murdered. Tom Douglas, convinced that the murderer is a woman, is on the case. This creates the basis for the story, and wow what a story it was. My favourite thing about this novel was the storytelling – Ms Abbott gives you information in small doses whilst all the time filling out the personalities of her characters until you understand their actions and reasoning. What appears on the surface is not what you find as you dig deeper, and as each little piece of information is revealed you become more and more immersed in the tale and in the lives of the characters who inhabit it. Its not for the faint hearted – in places it is darkly violent but again Rachel Abbott has been clever – whilst the darker parts are described, a lot is left to the imagination of the reader – I often wondered whether I was perhaps imagining worse things than were actually occurring. Told in current time as the investigation progresses, and with a glimpse at what has come before given through letters written but never sent by Hugo’s wife Laura to her friend,slowly but surely we are lead towards the ultimate resolution. Gillian Flynn’s “Gone Girl” used a similar tact with Amy’s prior diary entries – in this novel it is only used minimally but to great effect – you are at times desperate for Imogen to read the next letter to find out what Laura has been going through. You may or may not work out the “whodunnit” side of things, I did but not until I was deep into it – and only because Ms Abbott told you all you needed to know if you read between the lines. The “whydunnit” is again cleverly revealed over time and may shock you. A must read for any mystery lover, at time of writing (April 2013) both this, and Ms Abbotts next book “the Back Road” are a bargain on the Kindle and I would highly recommend, certainly this one, and hopefully the next which I will be reading soon. You will get much more than your money’s worth. I also felt that this was a “work in progress” author and I am looking forward very much to what she may write in the future. Brilliant.

 

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The Back Road is the second of Rachel Abbotts novels. Although I have been looking forward to it I have yet to have a chance to read it, so please find below a review from my friend, Sarah Shaw, who has recently read both novels.

 

The Back Road is a highly compelling read, with many twists and turns as it leads you through its narrative. Following the hit and run of Abbie, a 14 year old girl trying to escape her mystery pursuer, a group of family, friends and new neighbours meet for a dinner party and it soon becomes clear that each member has deep-running issues.  There was a touch of the Jilly Coopers to the story, leaving you wondering who was sleeping with whom within this tiny village but luckily this was only a faint undercurrent to what was actually a tragic story of grooming, abuse and fear.

The lead female, Ellie, was a little wet and weepy and in need of a very stern talking to but Penny’s tale was heart-wrenchingly written and more than one of the male characters had human flaws and traits that many would be able to relate to.

The tale pulled you in and made you want to find out whodunit, as it weaved an intricate web of lies, deceit and gullibility. There was a real sense of intrigue and each characters foibles and weaknesses were eked out, making you want to read on to find out more. Just as you thought you’d figured out who the culprit was there was another twist and you were sent scuttling back to the drawing board.

A tightly-written page-turner, well worth a read.

 

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Having recently read the first Carrigan and Miller novel by Stav Sherez, I was determined to read his back catalogue and so obtained a copy of “The Devils Playground”. This was brilliant – I would have to say even better than “A Dark Redemption” if I’m honest even though I loved both. Detective Van Hijn is an extremely interesting character and the search for a serial killer in Amsterdam was both intriguing and a little frightening. This is also an atmospheric novel – at one point while reading it I realised that I was taking extremely deep breaths and had perched myself right on the edge of my chair, quite literally. The portions of the book dealing with the Holocaust are well written and extremely sensitive whilst at the same time conveying the horror of it. The book is not without its humour – dark humour, granted, but humour none the less and this in conjunction with an extremely complex and intriguing story makes this a must read for anyone that loves a great tale in any genre. I have been lucky lately with my book choices – and I was extremely lucky with this one.

 

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The first thing I need to say about this book is, I was very impressed with how well written it was, and how quickly the author draws you into the world of the protaganist, Cass Elliott, without giving anything much away about what is coming for her. The “family” scene at the start of the novel really gives you a sense of her before you begin to dig into the main plot. I love this – sometimes you feel that a main character in a novel is embroiled in all sorts of things but you don’t actually know anything about them until later. It wasnt a long drawn out scene, but it was enough. As to the main plot, when a man is found murdered, his wife unconcious nearby, and strange photographs peppering the kitchen, Cass and her partner Mitch (another well drawn character) find themselves in the midst of a violent cult that has remained hidden for years. I won’t say anymore…the story expands and contracts in almost perfect harmony – you have your twists and turns, yes in places it is very violent but not vicariously so, and oh, the ultimate resolution – believe me its heartstopping. This is quite a hard review to write in that there is a lot more I’d LIKE to say, but the chances of me giving accidental “spoilers” is too high so I will shut up now. If you like mystery novels I would just get a copy and find out for yourself. I seriously doubt that you will regret it.

 

 

 

 

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